Before you begin writing, it’s helpful to make sure your idea is fully developed and thought out. Is it marketable? Are there similar books out there already?
I have a document I call ‘Possible Proposals’ where I put all my crazy and good ideas into one place.
For each idea, I write:
1. The title, genre and category. Example: GILDED, fantasy, YA
2. Tagline: One Girl. One Destiny. All Defiance.
3. Pitch: A girl with a black belt and a deadly proclivity with steel-tipped arrows discovers an ancient Korean god has been kidnapping the first-born daughters of her family for generations. And she’s next.
4. Synopsis: Here I write about three paragraphs that explains the general idea of the story. It’s a lot like a query.
Now I have my ideas all laid out. I’m excited about them, but I can’t decide which one to write next. This is when I move to Stage 2:
1. I go to Amazon and Publisher’s Marketplace to check if this idea has already been published. If it’s too similar to what is already out there, I know my idea will instantly be at a disadvantage. My idea must be fresh, new and enticing to an editor.
2. Thankfully, I have awesome crit partners. I rely on them to tell me THE TRUTH. If you don’t have these kind of peeps, go find them. They’re hard to find, but they exist. I send them my ‘Possible Proposal’ document and they give me the low down. They tell me which ideas are good, which are crap and which have possibilities.
3. They will also offer suggestions on how to refine and make my ideas better.
4. I listen and make adjustments.
1. I’m lucky I have a supportive agent who will read my crazy idea list and give me more input. He sees my ideas from a different perspective than my crit partners and I would.
2. He looks at the market, takes my career into consideration and gives me advice accordingly. Once again, I listen and make adjustments.
3. You may also have an editor who is willing to brainstorm ideas with you. This is huge because they know what their house is buying, what their editorial list needs, what kind of projects they are willing to read over and over again, as well as what’s selling.
At this point, I take the idea I feel is the strongest and the one I’m most excited to write. (Because essentially, your story will flop if you as the writer aren’t passionate about it.)
I plan my story. Check out this video for ideas.
I plot out the story. Check out this video for ideas.And then I WRITE.
What tips do you have for developing your ideas?
Christina Farley's debut YA, GILDED, releases spring 2014 by Skyscape/ Amazon Children's Publishing. She is represented by Jeff Ourvan of the Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency, LLC. She blogs and vlogs about writing and traveling, and is often found procrastinating on Twitter