Feb 7, 2011

6 Great Tips for Generating Ideas for Your Novel

After seeing I had over 80 books I've listened to in my audiobook list, I decided I would revisit some. Being in a learning mood, I chose Dwight Swain, after all, the cover claims he is a 'Master' writing teacher!

The audiobook covers the process of creating a novel, and I found Mr Swain had some good points on ideas. Here are Dwight Swain's (Master Writing Teacher) advice on ideas:
  1. If students came to Mr Swain with the complaint that they just didn't have any ideas, he would take a screwdriver from his drawer, go over to the door, remove the doorknob and hand it to the pained writer. Then he would tell them they could not leave the room until they have come up with ten ways to murder someone with the doorknob. By the time they leave, they have the ability to come up with new ideas.
  2. Get yourself a long list of bad ideas, because sooner or later a good one will surface.
  3. When you find one you like, write as many plot points that you could use for this idea, don't worry if some are just silly.
  4. Ask yourself, will this idea have enough angles to carry a novel length book?
  5. Choose an idea that really hooks you, not just one you think people would buy. Keeping momentum for a whole novel is hard enough, so, you better have an idea that turns you on.
  6. Keep in mind, a story is the record of how somebody deals with danger. Danger is anything that threatens happiness, and, happiness is not the same thing for everyone.
So, I've got to come up with seven more ways to murder someone with a doorknob (and one of mine might only maim).


  1. Hahahaha! I love it! Murder by door knob. What great points he has!!

  2. lol, love that pic of the doorknob. Good tips too. I particularly like #5