Write It Sideways

What Should I Write About? Focusing Your Ideas

In last week’s article, What Should I Write About? Finding Inspiration, I addressed a reader who was having difficulty finding ideas to write about.

Today, I’ll respond to another letter I received, from a different reader:

I’m going to my home town for the summer, and I would like to write a novel within the 3 months that I will be there. I know that I have a lot of inspiration, but the RIGHT idea never comes to me. I have so many ideas, but none make me feel like I have to write about them. What should I do?

My impression from this letter was that the writer has plenty of inspiration, but has difficulty focusing on which ideas are story-worthy.

Many writers struggle with this issue, perhaps even more so than finding inspiration: is my story idea good enough for a novel?

How do you decide which ideas you should pursue, and which you should toss?

How to Focus Your Story Ideas

Deciding on which ideas are keepers is a process. Try some of these strategies to help you narrow down your inspiration:

What’s your process for weeding out unworthy ideas and ephemeral inspirations? How do you distinguish the good ideas from the bad?