You want to write, but when you sit down to get started, you realize you don’t have a book idea. Or perhaps you have so many ideas, you’re having a hard time choosing the best one. Or maybe, you already have an idea, but you just aren’t sure if it’s any good.
That’s what we’re here for. Below are ten questions to help you get started finding your book idea. Use them as writing prompts or as a way to make your current idea better.
Don’t let the blank page win. Get started writing your book today with these book ideas!
How to Write a Book
Before we get into the book ideas, let’s review how you write a book:
- Build a team. If you want to actually finish writing your book idea, don’t make the mistake of trying to do it all on your own. Get a writing group. Find a writing class. Hire an editor to coach you through the process. Whatever you do, don’t try to write a book on your own. That’s a good way to never finish!
- Set a consequence. Set a deadline for when you’re going to finish your book (I recommend writing your first draft in 100 days), and then create a consequence for if you fail to finish by your deadline. Choose something painful. For example, for my last book, I wrote a $1,000 check to the presidential candidate I really didn’t want to win, gave it to a fellow writer, and told her to send it if I didn’t hit my deadline. I’ve never been more focused!
- Make a plan. Think through each step of the writing process, from the initial idea to how much you’ll write every day to the editing and even publishing process. A good book plan is more than just an outline. Learn how to write a book plan and get our free book plan worksheet here.
- Write! Now that you’ve laid a strong foundation, you’re ready to write! If you have a team, a hard consequence, and a plan, you’ll find that you’re focused, prepared, and ready to finish your book!
- Don’t stop. Most people want to write a book, but most people quit. Whatever you do, once you start, don’t stop writing (not even if you come up with a new, better book idea). If you keep writing and keep trusting the process, you’ll finish your book. Now, it might not be a very good book, but that’s what second drafts are for!
Learn more about how to write a book from our complete guide!
10 Best Book Ideas
If you’re like me, you don’t just want to write a book. You want to write a really great book, hopefully a book that will be published and maybe even become a bestseller.
What I’ve learned over the last eight years teaching writers is that the first step to writing a great book is to develop a really great book idea.
A good book idea doesn’t just come from a moment of inspiration. It might begin like that, but you also have to do the hard work to process, develop, and hone that idea.
These ten ideas below will help you take the ideas you already have and develop them into a solid plan for your book. You can also use them as writing prompts to get started with your book.
Here are the ten book ideas (you can also get these as a free download here):
- SET YOUR STORY IN TWO DIFFERENT WORLDS. Of the nine bestselling novels of all time, all nine are set in two different worlds. Think Harry Potter’s Muggle vs. Wizarding world. Or A Tale of Two Cities’ stable London and revolutionary Paris.
- WHAT SCARS DOES YOUR CHARACTER HAVE? We all have scars. To be a writer, Stephen King says, “the only requirement is the ability to remember every scar.” Tap into your own scars to unlock the scars in your characters.
- WHO DIES? Good writers don’t turn away from death, which is, after all, the universal human experience. Instead, they look it directly into its dark face and describe what they see on the page.
- MAKE YOUR MAIN CHARACTER AN ORPHAN. Think for a moment about all the great stories about orphans in literature and film. Orphans are uniquely vulnerable and thus have the most potential for growth.
- YOUR CHARACTER SEES A GHOST. What do Edgar Allen Poe, Ron Weasley, King Saul from the Bible, Odysseus, and Ebenezer Scrooge have in common? They all saw ghosts! Everyone wonders about the afterlife. Have fun with it!
- WHAT IS YOUR CHARACTER MOST AFRAID OF? Your character’s biggest fear is your story’s secret weapon. Don’t run from it. Write about it.
- YOUR CHARACTER COMES INTO AN UNEXPECTED FORTUNE. HOW DOES IT CHANGE HIS OR HER LIFE? Not all fortunes are good. Sometimes discovering a fortune will destroy you.
- YOUR CHARACTER BUMPS INTO HIS OR HER SOULMATE (literally, bumps into). In film, this is called the “meet cute,” when the hero bumps into the heroine in the hallway, knocking her books to the floor and forcing them into conversation.
- YOUR CHARACTER BEGINS A JOURNEY. Is that journey interrupted by disaster? Who hasn’t been longing to get to a destination only to be delayed by something unexpected? This is the plot of Gravity, The Odyssey, and even The Lord of the Rings.
- MONSTER. Monsters, whether people who do monstrous things or scaly beasts or natural disasters, always reveal what’s inside a person. Let your character fall into the path of a monster and see how they handle themselves.
Want to download a free book ideas guide? You can get these ten book ideas as a free download here.
Your Turn to Write
Do you need to use all of the ideas above in your book? Of course not! But one or more of them might help you take your inkling of a book idea and turn it into the basis of an amazing story.
Once you have your book idea, your team, your consequence, and your plan, there’s just one thing left: write.
Don’t save your best idea for some later date. Write it now.
Don’t get stuck trying to write a perfect story. Just write.
Don’t put your story down halfway through. Ask your team for support, remember your consequence, and revisit your plan — then keep writing.
And soon, you’ll turn your amazing book idea into a finished book!
What do you consider when developing your book ideas? Let us know in the comments.
Think about your book idea in light of these ten prompts. Don’t have a book idea? Use one or more of the prompts to develop one.
Be sure to leave feedback for your fellow writers! Which book ideas are you interested in reading?