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Story ideas: The big scary ones


Story ideas are funny things. Some say they have an abundance of ideas. Others have ideas swirling around their head but they take a while to fully form into something that can be articulated. And then there are others for whom ideas are few and far between.

I have a notebook dedicated to story ideas. It’s by no means full, but there are a small handful in there and each time an inkling of an idea begins to form, I write it down. Many of them will never come to fruition, and some will. Some have already been tried and have died a slow agonising death. That’s the way it goes.

This morning, I was up with the sparrows as I like to do this time of year. The mornings are mild and there’s nothing better than grabbing the dog, slipping on my sneakers and heading out as my world is walking from its sleepy slumber. (Yes, that’s my dog on our walk this morning above).  I do believe there’s something about the fresh morning air and the dawn of a new day that cleanses the brain and allows for fresh, new thoughts. It was certainly the case this morning. I had a story idea. A big one. And it scared me.

Why did it scared me? Because it’s like nothing I’ve ever tackled before. It’s a big idea with intricate layers, sensitive issues, and bold challenges. And it won’t just be a case of letting the idea grow and then starting writing. This is something that is going to require research. A lot of research. And that scares me because I haven’t done anything like that before.

I feel a weight already that my research must be meticulous so I get it right. It will involve reading books, listening to interviews, perhaps even conducting a few interviews.

But, although the research and weight of responsibility scares me, it also excites me to attempt something so out of my comfort zone. Something that I’d never dreamed of doing, but could be totally amazing. Something that could also fall on it’s head and implode before it gets off the ground! But that’s the thing with ideas, you never really know how they will take off until you give them permission to.

I know there will be many moments where I will doubt myself. Doubt my ability to tackle such a big idea for lack of talent, and lack of wisdom. But I also believe that you can’t grow without challenging yourself. And even if this idea doesn’t turn into the vision I have for it, I know I will be a better writer for at least trying.

At the moment I’m not ready to start the research, I have already began scouring for advice on how to take on this project. So for those who are contemplating (or may in the future) researching for their novels I’ve come across these great links to bookmark.


Researching a novel: Where to start via (the amazing) Natasha Lester

How to research your novel (and when to stop) via Joanna Penn

Top 7 tips for researching your novel via Writer’s Edit

The feel of real: Researching a novel via Jane Friedman


I’ll keep you posted on my progress with this one. But be warned, progress may be slow! For now, I’m back to the editing chair.

(And no, it’s not a historical fiction)