7 Places To Find Novel Ideas

There are many different stages of writing a novel and none of them are easy. A lot of people say the first step of the creative writing process would be outlining or simply writing the first draft. However, there’s another step that we tend to do without realizing it… that is, unless we have writer’s block. We need to find ideas to write about. So, here are a few places to find novel ideas.

7 Places To Find Novel Ideas | Creative writing | blogging | writing prompts | inspiration | writing ideas | RachelPoli.com

1. Eavesdropping

We all do it, don’t deny it. You can’t tell me you’ve never sat in a coffee shop or stood in line at the grocery store and listed to the people beside you gossip, bicker, or have a general conversation. Eavesdropping is great because you have no idea what’s going on and you can imagine what’s happening – in their lives and also in the lives of your characters. How would they react in a such a situation?

2. Exploring

Driving around, trying new restaurants, or simply walking around your local hometown, is an awesome way to get ideas for novels. Not only can you eavesdrop on the people around you, but you can also take in the area and what it looks like. All places are great for a setting whether it’s just for one scene or not. Either way, something could happen in nature or there could be a statue in the park that would make for a great writing prompt or beginning to the story.

3. What You’re Currently Doing

Seriously, begin a story where your character is sitting at their computer reading someone else’s blog. Why are they doing it? What topic are they reading about? Or maybe they’re not reading a blog but doing something else on the computer. Maybe they’re reading a story, browsing through memes, work or homework, or… maybe something they shouldn’t be doing.

4. The Internet

Anything that happens on the Internet is a free-for-all. Every quote, meme, photo, and content can be used as a writing prompt. As long as you change it enough to make it your own or you give credit where credit is due, you’re good to go.

5. Writing Prompts

Speaking of writing prompts, use a writing prompt. These can be found in prompt books, apps, suggested to you by a writer friend, or, of course, the Internet. Pinterest is a great place to find writing prompts. I love prompts because they spark so many new ideas for me. A lot of my flash fiction and short stories end up growing into longer pieces or novels because the characters won’t get out of my head.

6. Start A New Way

Do you typically find the base of your novel with the plot? Or maybe you create your characters first? Try beginning in a different way. Start your novel with nothing but a title idea or nothing but an object that will somehow be crucial to the plot.

7. Real Life

Did anything significant happen in your life? Write about that. Put your characters in your shoes – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

There are so many other places to find novel ideas. Ideas are all around you. Every place you go, everything you say, and everything you have can be turned into an idea. You just need to think deep enough about it.

Where do you typically find your novel ideas? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Asking “What If?” To Find Novel Ideas

Finding ideas for novels isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Yes, ideas are everywhere as long as you keep your eyes and ears open. However, are they good enough to be novel ideas?

Fiction is a genre of made-up stories. Unfortunately, animals can’t talk and dragons aren’t real. Still, there’s some truth to each and every fiction piece out there.

This can be a real-life location that’s the setting of the novel or it can be something as simple as researching sword fighting and going to war in the book.

In my opinion, ideas come in all shapes and sizes throughout the day. It’s just a matter of turning those ideas into stories with one simple question:

What if?

Mystery Month | Asking "What If?" To Find Ideas

“What if” makes you think about what could happen in an alternate universe (a.k.a. your book). “What if” makes you ponder what may possibly be. And most of this can happen through people-watching.

For example…

A young man and young woman are walking through the park. They sit down at a bench and chit-chat.

  • What if they’re brother and sister? Maybe they live in different houses with their partners and children and they’re catching up with each other.
  • What if they’re boyfriend and girlfriend? Maybe they’re talking about moving in together. Maybe an argument in unfolding.
  • What if they’re just friends? Maybe they’re two high school friends home on break from their respective colleges and they’re catching up.

Now ask: What if this happens…? This will create conflict and tension in your story adding more depth and a new direction to go in.

  • A brother and sister are catching up when one of them gets an urgent call from their mother. Something is wrong, they have to leave right away.
  • A boyfriend and girlfriend are discussing plans to move in together when an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend happens to walk by. And they decide to stop and chat with them for whatever reason. Maybe they say something their ex- doesn’t want their current partner to know.
  • Two friends are talking about their first semester of college when they realize they dated the same person the summer before going away.

It’s fun to go out and make-up stories based on what the strangers around you are doing. So, how does this imply to mystery writing?

You’re sitting in a coffee shop and there’s a man (or woman) sitting at the table opposite of you.

  • He’s sitting alone with nothing but a cup of coffee in his hand
  • He’s alone with a cup of a coffee and his laptop open and turned on
  • He’s alone with two cups of coffee

What if…

  • As he’s drinking his coffee, he gets a phone call? Little did you know he’s a detective and he just got a call about a new case or new evidence for a case.
  • With his laptop, he’s looking up news articles and trying to find evidence for a case. Maybe he’s a detective trying to figure things out or maybe he’s a civilian whose friend went missing and he’s trying to find them on his own.
  • Sipping on one coffee, he has the other in front of the second chair at the table. He’s waiting to meet someone. Maybe they come and it’s a fellow officer or maybe it’s a witness. Maybe this person has more to do with the case than the detective thought, or maybe not at all,
  • OR, he sips his own coffee constantly checking the time. After a while, he takes the second cup and either drinks it himself and leaves with it

When it comes to ideas and “what if” scenarios, anything is possible.

How many stories have you come up with by asking “what if” to real life situations? Let me know in the comments below.

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We Got This

One Step Closer…


The other day I finished editing the fourth draft of Diary of a Lover. I just have to print out the new fifth draft, give it to my sister Kristen and then she can edit that one for me. So while she edits that, my mom will be editing Take Over and I will be editing Hunter. I have three young adult novels that need serious editing so they’re finally going to be on their way. I’m hoping to make an assembly line out of them between myself, my sister, and my mom.

I know I was in the middle of writing The Blank Page, but I have decided to put that on hold for now. I’m not exactly in the mood to write it as I came up with a couple of new novel ideas. I came up with two new ideas and I’m not sure which one I want to start, but I’m going to write one on and off. I want to edit this month.

Since it is June, I shouldn’t start any new projects now. July is the second and last session of Camp NaNoWriMo. However, I think I might cheat this session again and write a combination of things. So, for June, I will edit Hunter and start…whatever new novel I thought of (neither one of them have a title). Then for July I can continue and finish whatever novel I’m starting this month. Does that make sense?

I’m going away for a week in July and I’m going to be babysitting a lot during that month so it’s going to be difficult for me to start a new project. I think I should be able to write 50,000 words during the month if I write a little extra every day. That’s why I think I’m just going to continue whatever I start this month. I won’t have wi-fi when I go away (I don’t think so, anyway…we’re going to a new place), so I will not be bringing my laptop. I’ll have to rely on writing in a notebook. I’m going to use that time to edit Hunter…if I don’t finish editing it by the time we go away.

I have a plan, so we’ll see what happens. Hopefully I can stick with it. 🙂