Dragonfly Words

Coming up with a Concept

August 6, 2010
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I think the hardest part about writing (for me anyway) is coming up with a stellar concept. While browsing the web, I came across this great post on MiG Writers (a great blog for middle grade and young adult writers) titled Finding a Rocking Premise. Christina Farley lists the following steps for come up with a premise:

  • Daydream
  • Brainstorm
  • Research
  • Have a critique group or writing buddy
  • Choose your favorite/best idea

To add to the above list, while brainstorming and reasearching, some things that help me find inspiration for my concepts are:

  • Flickr – I like to look at the top photos of the day/week/month/etc. and see if any of the subject matters catch hold of me. I often copy the inspiring photos into a word document and then write out my ideas and a short plot sketch right alongside the photo.
  • Art museum – art is a great source of inspiration
  • Watching kids in the park – not in a creepy way, but rather to see what excites kids. The smallest sentence overheard can develop into a full plot
  • Reading the news – stories in the news can provide great inspiration. I often try to think what would happen if the story were taken to a new level, or if society were completely changed because of this one story.

While I spend 2/3 of my writing time writing, the other 1/3 is spent daydreaming/brainstorming new concepts to add to the future books folder. It’s nice to take a mental break from my current story, and knowing that I have things in the pipeline encourages me to write faster so I can explore where the next book will take me.

How do you come up with your concepts?

For additional resources on choosing a concept, check out today’s post on Ask the Publishing Guru, The Right Write Idea.