HBPress Writing Guide: The Idea – Pt. 1

Ask any group of writers what the hardest part of writing is and you’ll get several different answers. One will tell you it’s editing, another character creation, another finding time to write. Very few will give you an honest answer because most of them have already gotten past the struggle of the new writer.

So what’s the honest answer? The idea.

Finding the idea/concept for your story is going to be the hardest part of the writing process because until you have that, you can’t really do anything else. Sure you could make characters, but without a story idea for them to be in, how do you know what characters will work for you? You could make a whole repertoire of characters and hope that one of them eventually works, but that’s a lot of work that may have no reward.

Before we discuss what the idea is and how to extrapolate it into a story, which will come in Pt. 2, we need to discuss what to look for in generating your idea.

The common wisdom espoused by most writers is to write what you know. While the basic premise of this is accurate, the concept of only writing what you know is limiting to any new author, and even to established ones. It’s just not good advice.

Speaking from experience, I started my writing adventure by writing fantasy. I wanted to be like Piers Anthony and other major fantasy writers and create amazing worlds and magic systems for people to enjoy. Why? Because that’s what I knew. I read a lot of fantasy books when I was younger. Also a lot of science fiction books, but when I started writing it was straight fantasy for me.

So I wrote what I knew, which was fantasy. Did it work? Well, sorta. I did write a trilogy, but it’s kind of hot garbage and I still feel like you can tell my heart wasn’t completely in it while I was writing it. It could have been better.

Add in all of the books I’ve started and then pushed aside and it’s pretty obvious the issue I was facing: I was writing what I knew, but not what I enjoyed the most.

My advice to you is to write what you LOVE and not necessarily what you know. What you know can change, but what you love probably won’t. For me, that meant not writing fantasy, but writing science fiction, specifically in the mecha genre. Why? Because when I was a kid, one of the first shows I remember loving was Robotech. After that, it was Gundam Wing and several other Gundam derivatives. Basically, giant robots are my thing. I love them.

This past NaNoWriMo I participated and completed the challenge by writing my first ever Mecha Novel (I’m currently finishing it up). I felt excited about writing. I have this grand idea for a fifteen-book series set in the same universe chronicling the rise and fall of Mecha. It’s quite amazing.

Writing what you love is more important than writing what you know. If you love a specific genre, but don’t know a lot about it, dive in and learn it. That’s why the concept of writing what you know may not be right for everyone, but writing what you love is always right.

Find what you love and that’s the genre you should write.

Next time we’ll discuss how to take what you love and get a concept out of it for writing.

In the meantime, if you’re looking for something to read, check out our Catalog and keep an eye on it for future books. Have a good week and happy 2022!

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