How To Test Your Book Idea

By on February 6, 2020

When an idea for a story strikes, it can feel like you have hit the jackpot! They come to you at the strangest times, and it can feel exciting and exhilarating with your mind suddenly whirring at a million miles an hour and a rush of adrenaline coursing through your veins as you start to explore it, clinging onto every detail to ensure you don’t forget it.

A story idea, however, is very different from a plot, and before you get ahead of yourself, it is essential to test it out, to put some flesh and bones on it to ensure that your idea is something that can be built upon. Remember, the novel-writing process is not something that should be rushed, so it’s essential that you spend some time checking that your idea can actually pull together to form a proper plot outline for your book.

So what do you need to do to test your book idea out?

Let's put your book idea to the test!

Reveal its potential

Doing some simple exercises can help you to work on your original idea to see if it has legs. Try the following to help you:

Challenge yourself to write a page about each of your main characters.

Your story must have interesting, exciting, relatable characters. Make sure you have an idea of your main characters before you start to write your book. Begin to get to know them by taking the time to write a page about them, who they are, their particular traits, and how they fit into the story.

Create the central idea and theme

Every good story has a solid theme that pulls it all together. You need to be clear about what yours is before you start to write. Take the time to consider what overarching messages and common threads you book will reveal, what are you trying to say?

Construct the beginning sequence

Write the very beginning of your story. Focus on action and detail and consider how you will create immediacy and draw your reader in from the outset. This will give you a feel for your writing style and tone and also help you to remain confident that you can begin writing the story.

Plot out the major events

Make sure that your idea really is going somewhere by mapping out all the major plot points that will come together to form a loose structure and reveal how your novel intends to unravel. Make sure that the major plot points are compelling and dramatic to ensure continued reader interest.

Consider your ending

How will your story draw to a close? If you can figure out your ending, you are well on your way to being confident that your story idea is one worth writing about!

Create a summary of your story

Another reliable test is being able to summarise your story idea in one or two lines succinctly. If you can encapsulate the essence of your novel in a sentence or two, this demonstrates that you have a firm grasp of the concept and a clear idea in your mind of what your book is about.

Doing exercises such as the above is like taking your idea out for a little test drive, putting it through its paces, and ensuring that it is robust enough to pursue. However excited about your idea you are, and however certain that you can craft it into a bestselling novel, this is always worth doing - just to be sure!

How do you flesh out your story ideas? Share your processes with us here!

So now you know how to test out your book idea, let's look at how to develop your initial book idea.

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