Idea: Checklist

After four years of staying on paper, I finally present the ten simple points to check when deciding to work on a story idea.

Welcome to Narrating The Dream and this is a post that has been delayed for way too long: The Idea Checklist.

You have an idea. Great job! One fourth of the writing is already done. You need to have an idea, no matter how small, to start this journey. Stephanie Meyer built her entire Twilight series on the base idea of a vampire who wanted to kill and love a human. J. K. Rowling came up with the beloved Harry Potter series while fantasizing of the things that could be flying out the window of her seat while on a train.

There are countless more examples of how authors have built successful stories over the ideas of a single scenes. But are these single scenes good enough? Yes, but the probability is low. Why? Because you may have a scene but how do you know that is unique? And by unique, I mean that though it might be based on ideas that are already out there, how will you give it your unique touch to make it stand out?

Adding my name to the list of people who have put on a checklist for writing, I now present the idea checklist. Don’t worry if there are a few no, you just need to get enough meaningful yes to make this project worth your time.

1. Is your story idea completely original?

2. What sort of genre do you want it to be a part of?

3. Is the world it is set in similar/identical to others that already exist? (For those who are creating new universes for their story)

4. Are there any other literary works that focus on an idea similar to yours?

5. Do you have any idea on how to make your ‘common’ idea stand out?

6. Are you willing to devote significant amount of your time to this idea? (This can stretch on for years)

7. Are you convinced your idea is realistic enough? [Clarification : Do your characters behave in a realistic manner and is the progress of story natural? You cannot have a character have a panic attack without a trigger. By the word realistic, I mean the characters should not do something completely at odds with their personality.]

8. Can you be patient enough to be thorough in research before starting your work and finishing your editing once you are done with it?

9. People sometimes write for personal pleasure. The rest of the times it is to read by others. Considering for the moment that you are writing to be read, are you brave enough to let others read your writing and are you willing to listen to their feedback?

10. Considering you write for personal pleasure (as well), would you read the story if someone else was the actual author?


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