The Nighttime Novelist...accomplishes more in about 240 pages than a dozen other "how to write" or "craft your novel" books have ever done.

--Helen Gallagher/Blogcritics




Monday, November 1, 2010

NaNoWriMo Tip #1: Combine Story Ideas

Maybe you have a novel idea that's essentially a coming of age story about a girl who enters puberty and isn't handling it well at school or home...but maybe the story seems to be a little unconvincing and cliche as it is, not much going on. Then there's this other story idea about a character who can move things with her mind, a horror story...but then what? She just moves objects around, and that's the whole story? Each idea has something interesting that catches your attention, makes you want to explore the idea further, and yet neither one really seems to have a full life of its own.

At least, not on its own.

But if you combined these story ideas--if you had a coming of age story about puberty, social awkwardness, the cruelty of high school kids, plus the character has the power to move things with her mind (or, say, destroy the senior prom)--then your two sorta interesting ideas might form one excellent idea that'd look, perhaps, a little something like this:

(Sorry, I'm still in Halloween mode.)

Combining two different story ideas--even mixing different genres--can be an excellent way to jumpstart your creative process and see your story and character more fully. Consider the several story ideas you've been kicking around lately, perhaps even making a quick checklist of them, and then see if any two of them might in fact be part of the same story. Then consider how combining the ideas into one might open up possibilities and allow you to do something unexpected.

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