4 Simple and Effective Ways to Brainstorm your Book Idea

by op-ed contributor

Have you always wanted to write a book but keep stopping just after you thought you had all your ideas sorted out? I will tell you this, generating book ideas for your book takes a lot of work especially if that idea does not jump at you (this is hardly the case). Brainstorming is a great and effective way to ensure you generate a great and sellable book idea.

That is why I am sharing these four simple and effective methods with you! I have used these methods in my book idea generation and even in generating this blog idea. Ready to write that book? Let’s generate ideas.

4 Techniques to Generate Your Book Idea

  1. Start with what you know and grow the idea

Trying to source a book idea out of the blue can be frustrating. Your brain might grow dry and even decide to give you some migraine. Instead of starting with generating that epic idea, why not move from the known to the unknown? 

Here is how it works.

When I was writing my first book, I didn’t know much about my book idea. I didn’t even have a title. But I started writing what I was used to, and while writing, I searched for other authors to see what they were saying. It was my first manuscript; it doesn’t have to be perfect. I wrote about everything that interested me, and five pages later, I hit the jackpot. My subconscious knew there was a book in me trying to get out, but I needed to mine it out. Finally, the ideas began to make sense, and I eventually had my book.

If you are a fiction writer, don’t just wait for the book idea to jump at you. Keep writing about your favorite character or other things that interest you until you can spot something unusual in them.

The key here is to have an open mind and hide that critic in you until you have something to criticize. Keep this at the back of your mind – IDEAS GROW. This has worked a good number of times for clients’ books. I would follow a particular pattern and start thinking outside the box. The end product? A superb book idea.

Stephen King once said that he got his ideas from everywhere. But what all of his ideas boil down to is seeing maybe one or two things and bringing them together in a new and interesting way. Then he adds the question ‘What if?’ – The key question.

  1. Get ideas from other sources

You can get ideas from a book, movie, events happening around you, or trends.

There was a time I was working on a client’s book. Even though I had the book idea and had written out my outline, I was looking for the best way to present it. Probably this is what is happening to you. I picked one of my favorite books at the time to see the way a chapter started, and that was it for me. I picked that idea, tweaked it, and it became the foundation for my book. 

The good thing is I was writing a non-fiction self-help book but the book I sourced is fiction. I have always loved stories. I enjoyed writing that book because I had set a pace for myself, and it was easy to inject the stories. When next you are stuck on generating a book idea, try picking someone else’s brain. You are doing it, not to steal their work, but to source for ideas. It even helps you understand what the audience is craving.

Read also: 12 personal development books for every Nigerians

  1. Use igniters A.K.A writing prompts

This is one of the best methods I have taught my students and helped them incorporate into their writing. I use it myself too. Writing prompts are igniters that arouse a particular book idea in you and allow you to push beyond your boundaries. The two methods I listed initially are within your boundary, but the writing prompt will push you to think outside your comfort zone.

Writing prompts are sentences or phrases that trigger ideas for writing. Do you remember how in high school your English teacher would create a situation and ask you to come up with a related story? That is a writing prompt!

Read also: How to create content that hook your readers

Exploring writing prompts for a book idea

So, let’s say you are writing a self-help book and you see a writing prompt that reads:

Jane just got off the bus, determined to deal with the bully.

Now, you are required to finish that story by relating it to what you are writing. The problem is you are writing on health and fitness. How do you link a bully and the bullied to health and fitness? I will show you how. Read what I come up with with the prompt.

Jane just got off the bus, determined to deal with the bully. Beside her was her friend with fear written all over her face.

“This has got to stop today. I won’t allow anyone to bully us again.”

Jane kept walking towards Maureen, the bully. As soon as she got to Maureen, she became afraid. She was scared of what would happen to her should her mother see her sick after this fight. Jane had recently been diagnosed with … and her mother had warned her not to fight. It isn’t a chronic disease, but she had it because of her poor feeding habit. Who survives on hamburgers and juice daily? Her constant loss of appetite had made her health deteriorate.

She remembered the shock on her mom’s face when the doctor told her she had …

Her mum couldn’t understand why on earth she was trying to lose weight. She wanted to tell her mum, but will her mum ever understand low self-esteem could make one destroy one’s health?

Bingo! We have it there. You can do this yourself too. Check here for other writing prompt ideas.

  1. Mind map

I love outlining, but mind mapping is a more effective way to generate book ideas. I call it my web friend. How do you mind map?

Get a notepad and write that single idea that you have. From that idea, think of other things you might want to talk about. Think. Use lines to link the sub-ideas with the main ideas.

Let’s say you want to talk about productivity. The main idea is productivity. The sub-ideas will be: What is productivity (history of productivity, what others have said about productivity, what I think about productivity), the importance of productivity (why should one be productive, the essentials of productivity, an example of people who have maximized productivity and their result), how you can be productive, applying productivity principles (knowing what works for you, identifying the types of productivity techniques, etc).

Instead of writing this way, make it graphical with lines to make it look like a cobweb.

Mind mapping sample

Mind mapping sample

Try out these ideas in your next book project. You may not have to try everything. Just pick one that you think works best for you or try all at first to see which works best and focus on it. Cheers to more writing!

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About the Author

Odunayo Sonde is a Ghostwriter and Writers’ Coach. She helps busy individuals, life coaches and business owners write their books within a short span of time. Odunayo is also the founder of Transformed Writing School, an online school for writers where they are equipped for impact, Influence and Income. She is the author of 2 published books and has ghostwritten 5 books as of the publishing date of this article. 

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Op-Ed are articles published by guest authors. We no longer accept guest posts. However, we are still open to adding long-term content contributors to our team of insightful writers. To write for us, please check out inisght.ng/guest-post.

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