Tips for Generating Great Book Ideas

2020 has been a weird year, that’s for sure. Like me, you may have been having trouble concentrating on your writing.

Just remember…when it comes time to start, don’t overthink things. Keep it simple. Whether you’re staring down writer’s block, or find yourself overwhelmed by too many good ideas, here are some thoughts to get you started.

Create a Character Based on Someone You Know
Many authors have mined the traits of a best friend, family member, or co-worker as part of a great book idea. I certainly have.

So, when you’re around people, jot down a few observations about their behavior…either mentally, or in a notebook…and see if those observations prompt any story ideas. A key supporting character, or even the main character, could be a composite of people you know.

Adapt Mythology Into Your Own Great Story
If you aren’t the kind of person who can generate a book topic by mining the depths of your own life, you can always go in the opposite direction and adapt folklore or mythology.

J.R.R. Tolkien used story elements from Norse mythology to craft The Lord of the Rings. Shakespeare’s creative writing process often led him to cast real-life kings and queens in his plays, adding his own embellishments to create better stories.

Find a myth or folktale you want to adapt in your own style.

Embrace the Supernatural
Sounds weird, right? But, trust me, readers love well-crafted ghosts and apparitions. In the spirit of Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft or Stephen King, create a cast of characters…and make at least one of them a ghost.

Get Inspiration From Comedy
Some new fiction writers make the mistaken assumption the only books worth writing are those that are gravely serious. Fortunately for the reading public, that isn’t true at all.

Authors from Shakespeare to Mark Twain have had great success writing books and plays where comedy came first. Try twisting one of your writing ideas into something more absurd.

Send Your Character on a Journey
From road trips to epic quests, audiences love a character on the move. If you have a great character or premise in mind, think of ways that you can send that character on a journey…or how the premise can be extended over the course of multiple story locations.

Try Freewriting
Freewriting is a technique where you write without a prescribed structure. That means no outlines, cards, or notes (I like to work this way). In freewriting, you follow the impulses of your mind, allowing thoughts and inspiration to appear without premeditation.

Allow your stream of consciousness to inspire the words on the page. Let the characters tell you what they want to do. With practice, you can use freewriting to unleash your creativity.


Gentle Readers, my books have all garnered some terrific reviews. You can see all of them by using the Amazon link below. Check them out. Better yet, buy one and read it. You just might like it.

buy now;


You’re invited to visit my author’s website, BROKEN GLASS to hear the remarkable radio interview about my novel “Blood Lake” on The Authors Show, or see my three local television interviews. You can also like my Book of Face page, find me on Goodreads, or follow my shorter ramblings on The Twitter.


Comments posted below will be read, greatly appreciated and perhaps even answered.

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2 Responses to “Tips for Generating Great Book Ideas”

  1. Mary Hackstock Says:

    Nice post Ron, glad to see a new one…and yes, it has been a weird year. Good wishes for some inspiration! Love

    Liked by 1 person

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