I’m always surprised by how many people have problems coming up with ideas for their books. I’ve never been the type to not have six or seven projects going at once. But there is one thing that I think is unaccounted for when people browse story starting sentences or images. This is something that I have always used and could not develop ideas without.
The Base Story
Now, this is the single most important, root for building every novel you could ever think of. I always have my niche story start. Think of it as the first building block, the foundation to build upon. This could be as simple as ‘Man Vs. Nature’ or as complex as ‘Man struggling in the business world’ but it is the one common thread that all of your novels will have in common.
It MUST be Something that Interests YOU Deeply
For me, it’s gay romance where one of the main characters does not want to admit he’s gay. I find the dynamic extremely interesting with a thousand different plots. When you try to think of your base story make sure:
It can be set all different places across space and/or time.
You can interchange character types easily.
It is deeply interesting to YOU (not your mom, boyfriend or publisher).
It is flexible enough to fit many different subplots, character developments, and won’t have the same overall outline.
It can be used as a subplot if your interest turns to something else.
So for my example:
Novel 1: Boy is running for a position of power and is blackmailed into a marriage with another guy, main characters does not want to admit he’s gay but ends up falling in love. Novel 2: Boy has no memory of the past as he has died and while traveling through the afterlife the main characters
Novel 2: Boy has no memory of the past as he has died and while traveling through the afterlife the main characters does not want to admit he’s gay but ends up falling in love with his guide.Novel 3:
Novel 3: One of the most popular singers in America does not want to admit he’s gay because he’ll fall out of popular light, but he’s head over heals in love with someone.
I have 20+ ideas that center around this one idea. Whenever I’m stuck, I just start with this concept and brainstorm off of it. It’s a great starting place to get my mojo going.
It has Other Benefits Too!
If being able to develop plots extremely quickly isn’t enough, consider the fallowing. Your books will all be in the same category, making readers find your other work easier. Your publisher will know what to expect for you and can more easily pitch your book. Your current readers will like more that just your fist book and will look forward to others.
I hope this helps you with your plot development basics! Have a great day!