I saw Brian’s thread over on the Warrior Forum about writing fiction for the Kindle and was so impressed by the information he was sharing that I sent him a quick PM asking if I could share the information with you as a guest post. He agreed and I am excited to bring you some great information about coming up with ideas for Kindle fiction!
How to Generate Plot Ideas for Your Kindle Fiction
I’ve really enjoyed writing eBooks for the Kindle. I started with mostly nonfiction, but have started venturing into fiction of late (though all of my fiction titles are thus far under pen names). It’s great to make money from your imagination.
There have, of course, been a ton of Kindle WSOs of late. The more people, however, that jump on the Kindle bandwagon, the higher the bar goes for quality. There’s a lot of junk on the Amazon Kindle marketplace. If you’re a fiction writer, you need to produce quality stories (not Pulitzer winners, by any means, but quality) to compete.
I thought I would share a few of my ideas/tricks on generating plot/story ideas. If anyone else has their own tricks they’d like to share, feel free. Here are my tips…
1) Decide on your general target niche/audience. I think it’s a mistake to over-analyze this. You can drive yourself into ‘analysis paralysis’ if you spend too much time trying to figure out demographics, psychographics, etc. Instead, think in general terms: age, gender, general interest (readers of military sci-fi or horror or science fiction or fantasy or whatever).
2) Determine an interesting setting or theme. Look at current hot-selling fiction titles on Amazon, current or recent movies, news stories, Bible stories, classic stories/plays, famous historical events, etc. All of these should give you some great ideas. What you want to do is find a premise, setting, or theme that your audience will relate with – something tried and proven, but also something that you can put your own spin on.
3) Pick out (at least) 2-3 other books that are targeted to your chosen audience/niche and that generally relate with the angle you’ve selected (see point #2), and read them. You can read screenplays too, if you’d like. The more popular they are with your target audience, the better. (Of course, you should be reading all the time. But especially take the time to read some other books when you’re getting ready to launch your project or just as you start one). What you’re looking for is insight on how these writers work with language, character development, scenes, etc.
4) After you’ve determined your setting (Civil War America, Victorian England, Warsaw ghetto in World War II, corporate office in Seattle, WA, etc.) which you hopefully did in step #2, develop your characters. Again, you can get bogged down here. The best “trick” is to start with characters already developed and tweak them. How? Look at colorful people you know. Also characters from TV shows, movies, other books, etc. Don’t copy and paste! Instead, tweak. Change the gender or the age. Change their background story. Put them in a different setting (Did you know Gene Roddenberry’s Captain Kirk character is really Horatio Hornblower put in a sci-fi context?).
5) Decide what your main characters WANT? What are they trying to achieve at the time of their life which you’ve decided to focus on? That’s how you should think of your story, by the way. You’re focusing on a particular time/episode in their life. What is it that they want? Think deep want – as in what their heart wants. And also surface want – what they want at that given moment.
6) You have a setting, a theme (moral) for your story, your characters developed and their main desires in place. Now, you need to draw your protagonist and antagonist into conflict AND start throwing obstacles at your protagonist. As you do this, your plot starts to come together. And it’s a lot of fun!
7) As you’re doing step #6, take a look at your favorite movies, books, etc. and break down their plots. Again, do NOT copy and paste. Instead, change their plots around a bit. It’s often easier to start with a plot and change/edit it than it is to completely come up with one from scratch. If you do points 6 and 7 together, you’ll be in great shape.
At this point, I could start talking about 3-act structure or John Truby’s story anatomy (21 points) or other story development models. For this post, I’m just talking about generating initial plot ideas. I do this exercise a lot to help generate a bunch of plot ideas. Then, I go back and decide which ones have the most promise and which will be the most fun to pursue. And I start writing.
I hope this has helped. I welcome any feedback. And I invite other fiction authors to share some of their ideas, tips, perspectives on how they generate plot and story ideas.
Brian Tubbs is an Amazon bestselling author who writes both nonfiction and fiction. For a free video on fiction writing, check out MakeMoneyWritingFiction.com.
If you want to read the rest of the thread, you can see it here.
In the comments below…
I’d love to hear your ideas on coming up with ideas for fiction books. Also, let me know if you are interested in more information on publishing fiction! I don’t publish fiction myself, but I know many people that do and would be more than happy to get some expert guest posts to share with you guys.