“We are the music-makers, And we are the dreamers of dreams…”
Ode by Arthur O’Shaughnessy
We are the storytellers, we are the dreamers of dreams, we are good at imagining exciting scenarios that exist outside the realm of real world.
There’s an enormous attraction in escapism, some brave souls will even go as far as sharing the book inside their head with the rest of the world.
Think about JK Rowing sitting on a London-bound train – the idea for Harry Potter came out of nowhere, even Rowling admits she couldn’t tell you what triggered it.
All of a sudden the idea for Harry just appeared in my mind’s eye. I can’t tell you why or what triggered it. But I saw the idea of Harry and the wizard school very plainly. I suddenly had this basic idea of a boy who didn’t know who he was, who didn’t know he was a wizard until he got his invitation to wizard school. I have never been so excited by an idea. JK Rowling
It doesn’t matter how or why. It matters is that Rowling instantly and instinctively knew that this idea had blown off the competition – the other ideas she’d (two unpublished adult novels) been working on.
It was Rowling’s lighting-bolt moment, one that went on to leave its mark on the world as distinctively as the one on Harry Potter’s forehead.
In a writer’s life, the lightning strike is an idea that excites us enough to share it with the rest of the world. Start with the first 10 pages. Make magic happen.
7 steps to kickstart a book
- 1. Imagine your character. He or she is sitting on the sofa opposite you. What burning question do you want to ask?
- 2. Nail the book in 25 words or less. Does it still sound exciting to you? For example: “… a boy who didn’t know who he was, who didn’t know he was a wizard until he got his invitation to wizard school.”
- 3. Embrace a series situation. Is the idea exciting enough to make you think you could write book after book about this character?
- 4. Turn detective. You need to know the character in your book better than you know your best friend.
- 5. Be faithful and true. You need to be excited enough to commit to your character for the next 80,000 or so words.
- 6. Trust your instincts. Is this the one?
- 7. Follow your heart. Are you passionate about this book? If you put your heart into this book and are determined to write it whatever it takes, your lightning-bolt moment, that moment of creative brilliance, will be captured forever in word.