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Idea for a Novel: How to Find Inspiration for Writing

How difficult is it to find an idea for a novel? Are there ways to find inspiration to write?

Finding an idea for a novel is not easy. You have to be patient and consistent, but some strategies can help you.

In this article, we will examine some of them. Let’s start!

#1 Finding stories in everyday life

Open your eyes to the world around you

Every person you meet on the street, every conversation you overhear on the train, and every piece of paper hanging on the noticeboard in your neighborhood library can be an idea for a novel.

This is why it is important to learn to observe. Get used to watching the people around you. Observe how they interact with each other.

Carry a notebook wherever you go, jotting down interesting dialogues, peculiar sights, and your feelings about them.

Listen to other people’s stories

Every person has a story and a unique perspective on life shaped by their experiences, dreams, and challenges they faced.

Talk to people, listen to what they tell you. Every conflict experienced by each of us and how it has changed us can be the idea for your next story.

Whether it is the pain of the elderly neighbor who lost her husband or the ambitions of a young programmer, everything that concerns the deepest human nature is worthy of being told in a novel.

Find beauty in simplicity

Often, the most extraordinary stories are hidden in the simplest aspects of life. A walk in the park or cooking a plate of spaghetti can become a story that engages your readers.

Get used to looking for beauty in everyday moments. Ask yourself, “What story does this moment tell?

By shifting your perspective, you’ll find that narrative possibilities are all around you, waiting to be captured and shared through your unique voice.

#2 Dive into the past: historical events as an idea for a novel

History is not just a series of dates and events but a collection of many personal stories during these significant events. What was life like for a Brazilian soldier who had never seen snow and who came to fight in the Second World War in the Apennine mountains in Italy?

Read essays and novels and watch documentaries to learn more about a historical period that interests you. Analyze how it played out in your city or town. Look especially for little-known stories of individuals or communities.

Search letters, diaries, and memoirs to learn about people’s daily lives during that period. These personal documents can give you the information you need to create your novel’s characters, dialogue, and setting.

These little stories can be an excellent idea for a novel because they are genuine and authentic. Readers love this kind of novel because the personal stories of individuals offer a more intimate point of view through which to consider the past.

#3 Using current events and social issues to find an idea for a novel

The world around us constantly evolves, and every day presents us with new conflicts, injustices, and questions.

Current events and social issues have long been fodder for novelists. Here are some examples.

  • Oliver Twist” by Charles Dickens highlights social issues like poverty, social injustice, and the plight of abandoned children in Victorian England.
  • The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck examines economic inequality, migration, and worker exploitation during the Great Depression.
  • 1984” by George Orwell explores themes such as totalitarianism, mass surveillance, and media manipulation.

When writing about current events, you must approach sensitive topics with empathy, respect, and a commitment to always seek the objective truth. Your goal is to provoke thought and offer new perspectives, not to exploit or sensationalize.

Consider how the issues in question affect individuals on a personal level and society at large. This dual focus can help you create a narrative that is both intimate and expansive, giving readers a window into your characters’ lives and reflecting larger social themes.

#4 Tapping into personal experiences to find a great idea for a novel

Use your life as inspiration

You may never have thought about it, but your own life can be a great source of inspiration. 

Every challenge you have faced, every obstacle you have overcome is a story to tell. Your experiences can offer hope and inspiration to your readers.

Furthermore, just because you tell your experiences, your writing will be authentic.

The power of journaling

Journaling is a very useful tool for every writer. It is not only used to record your thoughts and experiences, but also to process emotions and ideas that you can reuse in your stories.

Find a moment in your day to stop and reflect on what happened to you and the people you have met, writing down observations, thoughts, and feelings.

If you write regularly, this journal will be full of ideas for your novel.

#5 The power of “What if” questions to find an idea for your novel

“What if” questions are a simple and effective tool for stimulating the imagination. These questions help you think about what would happen if particular conditions or situations occurred.

What if humans could teleport?” or “What if Hitler had won the war?” are questions on which to build an alternative world to the one we know, in which to set stories that would certainly arouse curiosity in readers.

These questions encourage thinking outside the box, allowing readers to explore worlds shaped by rules and conditions different from everyday reality.

“What if” questions are especially useful in world-building and character development.

By asking questions like “What if society was matriarchal?” or “What if memories could be transferred?” you can build well-developed worlds and characters that engage readers.

A great example of the use of this technique is the Black Mirror series, in which, starting from “What if” questions, stories were created that explore the themes of consciousness, identity, and technology, which, just like in a mirror, reflect both imagined possibilities and real-world concerns.

Novel idea generation: utilizing bibisco’s mind map feature

bibisco novel writing software offers a powerful tool to help writers develop their novel ideas: the mind map feature. With this feature, writers can visually organize their thoughts, characters, plotlines, and settings in a structured and intuitive way.

By creating a mind map, writers can brainstorm ideas, explore different story arcs, and establish connections between various elements of their novel.

Idea for a Novel: bibisco's mind map feature
bibisco’s mind map feature

This visual representation allows writers to see the big picture of their story and easily navigate through different plot possibilities. Ultimately, the mind map feature in bibisco provides writers with a flexible and dynamic platform to spark inspiration and transform their initial ideas into fully realized novels.

Conclusion

Finding the idea for your novel is not easy and requires patience and perseverance. In this article, we have analyzed some techniques that can be useful to you.

By observing the world around you, analyzing your personal experiences or the small stories within the big events of history, or using “What if” questions you can find the inspiration you are looking for.

Happy writing!

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