As a writer, it’s safe to assume you might have a million different ideas floating around in that NOGGIN of yours. They might just be snippets of something or complete ideas that will eventually lead to something bigger, but how do you figure out what’s worth your time and energy? How can you tell the difference between a good idea and a bad idea?

Ask yourself these questions—

• Does it completely capture YOUR attention? If it’s something that you can’t stop thinking about, you probably shouldn’t pass on developing that idea. If one idea leads to another and another, you’ll have a complete plot in no time. You need to work on something that gets your excited.

• Is it something you would have easily forgotten about if you didn’t write it down? A simple test to see if you have a good idea is to NOT write it down. If you have an idea that blows your mind, try waiting until the end of the day to think about it again. If you remember it and you didn’t need to write it down then it’s probably worth developing. If you forget about an idea, it probably wasn’t one that inspired you enough.

• Have you been trying to work out one idea for a LONG time? If you just can’t figure out the specifics or develop an idea further, it might be time to let it go. Don’t be afraid to move on from an idea because that will give you time to think about something better. You need to be excited about what you’re doing and what you’re planning.

• Does this idea include more than a couple scenes? Sometimes I get stuck on one scene I want to write and everything else is sort of boring compared to it. You can’t revolve a whole book around one scene. It might be a better idea to combine a few ideas that might not seem related, but you can make them fit together. You need a lot of exciting scenes to write a novel, not just ONE good idea.

• Does your idea sound very similar to popular trends? If you’re idea was just to write a vampire novel or something to do with mythical creatures because that’s what’s popular right now, you should wait for better inspiration. Don’t write for the markets because you’ll lack motivation. You need to wait for something that captures your attention, not what you think will capture everyone else’s. Also, the markets change ALL THE TIME.

I’m sure all your ideas are wonderful, but you need to focus on what’s worth developing. The most important thing to remember is work on whatever you’d like to read yourself and don’t worry about what everyone else wants. Good luck!

-Kris Noel

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