Useful Tips

What to write about? »: Finding ideas for a book

If you read a lot of books (otherwise what are you doing here?), You probably know this feeling: it seems to be well written, it has some zest, but it doesn’t capture the imagination, and that’s it. Or breaks off completely unexpectedly. Or very stretched. All this suggests that the author did not pay enough attention to the development of the plot. In this article, we will consider simple rules that will help you prevent common mistakes of novice writers in your work and come up with a plot for a book. Of course, if you have a natural talent, maybe (anything can happen), you will be able to do without them, but knowledge of the theory will in no way hurt.

So how to come up with a plot? There are some simple rules that help you successfully start a work and develop the author’s ideas on paper.

18 tips on how to come up with a plot

1) When you come up with an original idea for a future work, do not rush to get down to business immediately. It is usually not recommended to put aside a long box, but your creativity will be more effective when you first scroll through the plot in the head for several days, the characters of the characters and possible events, and then get ready to get down to business.

2 ) A spectacular start is almost the key to success. The plot should be impeccable stylistically and bright, exciting, in order to intrigue the reader from the very first pages.

3) The formula of an interesting story: the plot -> development of action -> climax -> denouement. The only way. In the process of writing, the dynamics of reality should gradually unfold. Events in the text are connected by a causal relationship, as are the actions of the characters. In order not to get confused, feel free to use the software for writers, which for modern authors is simply an indispensable assistant.

4) The plot needs to be developed gradually: describe the events taking place from different angles, different points of view. You can use several heroes for this. Your story may have more than one plan, and each of them will develop in parallel with the other.

5) We must not forget about the alternation of dialogues, events and monologues.

6) Avoid heavy descriptions. More dynamics!

7) Use the description of life, fill your small world with details.

8) Add a riddle to your book over which the reader will have to smash his head. Give hints sometimes, but don’t reveal everything completely. Give the reader the opportunity to feel that he has reached everything himself, logically.

9) Your book should have a twist to catch the reader. It can be an idea, a phenomenon, humor, the inner world of heroes.

10) Surround the world in colors. Best of all - through the vision of the protagonist.

11) Do not disclose the idea of ​​the entire work prematurely, or in plain text! Push the reader towards it gradually, through actions, make hints in dialogues.

12) A work becomes richer and more interesting when there are cross-cutting images in it. Gradually developing, they appear in different places of the plot and harmonize with the main line. What it is? Consider the example of Pushkin’s creative work: in The Bronze Horseman the image of Petersburg is such a cross-cutting way.

13) Use metaphors; they make the plot live.

14) Notice the little things. Thanks to the little things, the picture becomes clear. At the same time, do not go into too much detail - you need to find a middle ground in order to leave the reader a place for his own imagination.

15) Instead of talking about an event, describe it. You can write that the hero was upset, but you can let it feel. The difference is significant.

16) Enter in the plot of unusual, extraordinary characters, and do not lose them. Let them stand out and enliven your plot - it’s always interesting to watch such characters.

17) Each character should have his own view of the world. But you do not need to describe it in detail at the very beginning of the book. You must show it not only with a simple description, but through events, dialogues and monologues. In addition, in the course of your story, the hero must change inside. It can be a moral or spiritual growth, a cardinal change in views. Make the reader understand the main character and empathize with him, rejoice at his successes. Read more about how to create a hero for a book in my article.

18) And finally: think very well about the denouement. Since it has a great mission. The denouement should make the reader agitated, reflect, comprehend the main idea of ​​the book. The end of the book should leave a pleasant feeling in the soul.

Follow these rules and you will succeed! Work on yourself, create, do not be afraid to come up with something completely new and extraordinary. For information on how to come up with a hero, how to start publishing, how to write a book, and more, read the following articles in the Beginner Writers section.

How do ideas come about?

1. "Prefabricated hodgepodge" - ideas from the accumulated information.

Throughout life, we absorb a huge amount of information. What we remember, but something, as it seems to us, we forget. However, the “forgotten” does not disappear anywhere, any information is either completely / partially stored in the memory, or considered, and the conclusions from the learned, experienced experience are also stored in the memory. And at a subconscious level, work on information is ongoing.

The emergence of ideas from the "hodgepodge" is very difficult to track. She may dream, may “suddenly” emerge from her childhood memories due to some vivid impression, or she may just appear at the moment of considering a situation that has nothing to do with the idea. But in any case, it is the result of a mental, life experience. And arises, as it sometimes seems to us, from nowhere. And this is the most interesting kind of ideas, the most original and deep, personal and "author".

2. Association is a conscious development of an idea along a chain, from the hooked image to, in fact, the idea of ​​history.
For example, you are watching an interesting adventure film. And the plot is so catchy that an unconscious process is activated: what if I were a seeker? - what would I look for? - and who would bother me and why? - and what are the dangers? - But will there be love, such as in the film? - and what adventures will begin! Everything, consider, the plot, built on a random associative chain, is ready.

And the role of a push, a trigger for an associative series can be played by anything: a beautiful image, a favorite genre, and an occasionally interesting phrase.

3. A situation is an idea based on a desire to convey (develop) a specific interesting situation. Or to express thoughts that have arisen again under the influence of the situation.

Often such ideas are based on personal experience - either real and life (autobiographical novels), or observational (purposeful collection of information on a specific topic). Writing fan fiction when another person’s idea is being processed is also situational.

What to do if you don’t know what to write a book about

Now let's talk about the first part of the title of the article - “what to write about?”, That is, the absence of ideas.

Honestly, such questions are perplexing. What does “nothing to write about” mean when we are surrounded by an abyss of information, when we live in a huge and interesting world?

And although we have already figured out where to get ideas, let's look a little deeper into the manifestation of the mysterious syndrome "I don’t know what to write about."

Ideas love a new experience.

Working with an idea is a two-way process: it is not enough for it to come — you need to be able to accept it. So you have to be open: for a new life experience, for obtaining information, for processing the previous experience in the end. If your whole life - came home from work, sat on the sofa and turned on, say, "Univer" - of course, you will have nothing to write about. However, theoretically, you can write fan fiction on the "Univer" ... 🙂

What to do? Overcome laziness and fatigue. Read interesting books - there are plenty of forums with tips on the Internet and a lot of online libraries. Watch informative or quality genre films. Go on vacation not only for relaxing by the pool, but also for impressions, for new information. Walk on new roads and look around, notice the details. And ponder what you see, fantasize.

Want to write a love story? Here, a couple sits and kisses on the bench - ready-made types. And then - according to Shakespeare. What family is the guy from? How many have they met and for how long? But do they not skip school for each other? And so on.

Life for us, writers, shows everything - just do not be lazy to watch and think about what you see. Life in the “on receiver” state is interesting even without writing books, by the way.

Finding ideas for a book within yourself

Sometimes a person closes in his own little world, focuses on his own problems and concerns. And ideas seem to knock, appear vaguely, form and emerge under the influence of experiences, but they are very difficult to hook, identify and study. And you want, and your hands itch, but what to write about is not clear. But is it not clear?

What to do? Understand yourself, study yourself. Do not be afraid. According to legend, Stephen King became a famous mystic on the advice of a psychiatrist who recommended processing his own fears. Understand what torments you, what you lack. Perhaps this is the essence of ideas in the realization of secret desires and aspirations. Maybe in your heart you are an Amazon, but in reality you have to sit in the accounting department for reports? This is painful. But there is always an ideological outlet for spiritual self-realization. 😉

A realistic approach to finding ideas for a book

“I want something, but I don’t understand what,” is also a kind of “lack of ideas”. It looks like the requirements of the body - he wants to eat something, but that is incomprehensible, and even going to the store does not solve the problem.

Where does this desire come from? Often - from the fact that you like to read, but everyone writes the same type, boring, but you want fresh (and not write yourself?). Often - from the fact that everyone writes around, and writing is a virus, everyone writes - and I want. And also - just from the desire to become a writer. I would like to know about you, to publish and buy your books, so that (why the hell is not joking?) Become famous.

What to do? First, push away from sin the dream of immediate and resounding glory. An 18–20–25-year-old author who writes a masterpiece in a month and forever is fantastic. 🙂 Sholokhov, Gorky and other talents are exceptions that confirm the rule. Sad as it may be, writing is a long and hard work. Therefore, first of all, learn to work and believe in yourself.

And secondly, follow the plan.

1. Choose genre and form - and “I don’t know what” will narrow down to the borders of fantasy and stories, detective stories and novels.
2. Choose a scope - history (historical novel, quest adventures), psychology (how to protect your personality in conditions ...), technical sciences (yeah, is there life on Mars?).
3. Explore the market, follow the trend, read the books of competitors and study their ideas. If you don’t come, start with small fanfics. Write a story on behalf of a foreign hero, find a turning point in the plot and write an alternative story.

How can this help in finding ideas? The association method will work. With a good study and dedication, one idea will pull a second, third, fourth. First - with other people's “roots”, then - based on your thoughts.

But the most important condition for all three approaches is live. Live and enjoy life, take the time and develop your curiosity, become interested and develop, read, observe and analyze. Then the question “where to get ideas from?” Will not arise.

Right now - instead of running from corner to corner around the room, instead of sitting and suffering that you have nothing to write about - right now go outside, look around and think: what can you write about?

Is there nothing interesting around? Engage your interests, think up heroes and a plot based on them. No interest? Start. This is more useful than sitting at home and sadly looking at the monitor screen. Do not want to be interested and develop? Then do not complain and do not write. What can you interest the reader in if you yourself are not interested in anything?
And one more thing: if you have already come up with interesting ideas, think - by what method? From a situation, an association, or “out of nowhere”? And look for new ideas, based on your own experience, work in your direction.

Z. Chernyshevskaya said: “Poems do not come from the void. They are born, like all living things. " The same thing happens with ideas. Fill in the informational and spiritual void inside yourself, and you will never have to suffer from a lack of ideas.

An idea is an experience, mental, sensual and “physical”. Therefore - live, think, feel and act 😉

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Examples of the use of semantic inversion in fiction:

Statement: the sun rises every day in the east
Inversion: The sun does not rise in the east or does not shine at all.
Ways to implement the idea:

1) As a result of the actions of thinking machines, the sky became cloudy and the sun does not penetrate the earth: this idea is used in the script of the film matrix trilogy “The Matrix” of brothers - now sisters - Wachowski.
2) The earth becomes unsuitable for life, and humanity moves to Venus, where torrential rains fall all year, and the sun shines only one day in a year: this is the plot of the story “Ray Bradberry, All summer in one day”,
3) After a collision with a meteorite, the axis of the Earth shifted: this is exactly the case when comprehension of an inverted idea can lead to a new plot - for example, the theme of the displacement of the Earth’s orbit, however, in a different context, is raised in Jules Verne’s novel Upside Down.

Statement: life after death is not proven.
Inversion: life after death has been studied or proven.
The way to implement the idea:
1) A group of young scientists (doctors) conducts research on clinical death, finding out that after a cardiac arrest a person makes a journey into the past: this idea formed the basis of the script for the film "Kamatozniki".
2) A group of adventurers use clinical death for long trips to the other world: this is the semantic conception of the novel “The Tanatonauts” by Bernard Werber.

Statement: women give birth to children.
Inversion:
women do not give birth to children (cannot or do not want).
The way to implement the idea:

Mankind was struck by mass infertility, which inevitably led to chaos around the world: the plot of the novel by the British writer Phyllis Dorothy James, "Child of Man", in which the film of the same name was shot in 2006.

Statement: People experience hunger and eat 3-4 times a day. This determines the world order and the alignment of forces in our world.
Inversion: people do not experience hunger. People do not eat, as an option - they eat very rarely.
The way to implement the idea:
1) People are fed by pure energy, which they take a) from an accessible source: for example, solar energy), b) from an inaccessible source: for example, human blood (as a result, we get the version with vampires - the canonical text “Count Dracula”).
2) People eat special foods, a small amount of which can provide long-term satiety: this idea formed the basis of Alexander Belyaev’s story “Eternal bread”.

Statement: people live, grow old and die.
Inversion: people live, but do not grow old and do not die.
The way to implement the idea:
1) People draw life energy from the outside: again, we get the option of vampires, only in this case the theme of life and death is still played out, since vampires in the traditional sense are not living people.
2) People transfer their own life energy to any object, it ages, a person does not: we get the plot “Portrait of Dorian Gray”, which came out from the pen of Oscar Wilde.
3) Scientists are developing a cure for old age - the elixir of immortality. A common plot, for example, underlying the fantastic play of the Czech writer Karel Čapek “Means of Makropoulos”.

Statement: beautiful young French women of the 17th century are looking for money, fame and glory, and therefore connections in the highest circles of society, for the sake of which they easily sell their honor and enter into alliances with the strong (or simply rich) of this world. It is this idea that underlies most of Honore de Balzac's novels.
We use inversion: the beautiful 17th-century French women are disinterested and faithful to their ideals and lovers; they resolutely reject offers of extramarital affairs and long for only one thing: to unite with a spouse (far from the ideal of beauty).
Implementation Method: This is the message of the series of novels “Angelica” by Anne Gollon (Simona Shangyo).

As you can see, the use of semantic inversion, firstly, allows you to find new, unexpected ideas, on the basis of which you can create a full-fledged novel, which is not always fantastic, and secondly, inversion helps to look at the familiar picture of the world from a different angle, find the surprising in the ordinary and yet, with luck, “play a nocturne on a flute of drainpipes”.
As a homework assignment, we suggest trying to apply the inversion to the following statements: a child is born unconscious, every house has electricity, a tired person falls asleep quickly, people use money to simplify the exchange process, people get money for work, lions are found in Africa, summer is replaced by autumn .
Based on the obtained inverse idea, try to develop stories (novels). Смело фантазируйте, ищите новые смыслы и способы реализации инверсии. Good luck!