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I am looking for some inspiration on where to start writing a novel. I have a general idea for a plot and characters, but I don't feel it's enough for sitting down and starting to write. It needs a lot of development. And I am not sure how to approach it.

Obviously not all writers start in the same place or prepare in the same way. I would like to know how different people approach that.

Do you know of writers who wrote or talked about this process? Maybe there's a book with interviews of writers about their creative process, that will cover that too? Or maybe some of you will be interested in sharing their own experience?

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3 Answers

I think I've written this before (or upvoted someone who has written it), but so what:

  1. You need a basic idea. Oh, you have one, good.
  2. You need a main conflict. Otherwise you do not have a story. That means your hero wants something and someone is putting obstacles in his way. Like Remeo wants Juliet, but their families are against their relationship. Hero wants peace, but villain wants to conquer the world.
  3. You need more conflicts. Smaller ones along the way. Inner conflicts of the characters. Leaves conflict with the tree and water conflicts the river. Conflicts everywhere.
  4. Characters. Characters drive the story (well, normally). Write down the biography of your characters. How do they look, when left they school, how many children, inabilities, do they smoke, torture puppies, eat children, hate women, were violated by their daddy, whatever. Ask your characters questions to get to know them. "Would you drive 100mph in a city if you knew you weren't caught?" "Would you play football naked in a sold out stadium?" Stuff like that.

If you have your basic idea and the main conflict, start to develop your characters. When you know who will drive the story, you get more ideas for the other conflicts.

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There are some good answers here.

I'm finding the Snowflake method useful as well.

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For book resources, there are many out there. Here's a small sampling:

There are a couple of questions on this site that may help:

  • This question has a larger list of book resources, although not all will directly apply to your question
  • This question covers resources for character development in particular
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