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by Sherrie Clark

Do you want to write the next great American novel but just don’t know what you want to write about? Do you find yourself lost for ideas and thus lost for words?

Getting ideas for a book is actually simple and easy. To start, determine your genre, which is your book’s category. For instance, do you enjoy immersing yourself in a good whodunit mystery, visualizing yourself as the hero or heroine in a romantic love story, getting engrossed in the world of science fiction, delving into a sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat thriller, plunging into an adrenaline-rushing adventure, cackling at a side-splitting satire, or escaping in a ride-into-the-sunset western? If you’re an avid reader of any of these genres, you should already have some ideas floating around your imagination.

Another way to get ideas for your book is to pull from life experiences. Maybe you were a single parent who raised a world-renown athlete. Maybe you were the victim of a crime, and justice prevailed…or not. Maybe you were a soccer mom, and you have some funny stories to share. Maybe you have witnessed some heroic event that made an impact on your life. Whatever you’ve journaled or held captive in your memory bank, probably for years, you have some ideas for a story.

Buy a newspaper or magazine or peruse the Internet for real-life stories and articles. Several years ago, I remember reading an article in a popular newspaper that reported a bank robbery. (Thankfully, no one was hurt.) The next thing I knew, my creative juices started flowing, and I found myself creating a fictional story from some of the events within that real-life article.

Bottom line is that ideas for books are all around us. We just need to be observant and preserve them through notes, clippings, pictures, recordings, and such. If something noteworthy occurs but isn’t applicable to your current book, write it down, print it, or cut it out of the paper anyway. Put it in a box or file to reference for your next book.

Just remember that life is full of surprises, memorable events, and experiences that need to be shared or told. Don’t rush through them, put on blinders, or walk through life with tunnel vision because we may just miss out on some great ideas. Learn to capture them in whatever media format you’re comfortable with or is convenient. Just by stopping and smelling the roses, we’ll find that we have a myriad of ideas for a library of books.


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