Tuesday, February 17, 2009

What should I write about?

An email I received today from a university student, wanting to write her first novel:
I have just read your advice on writing. I am struggling to come up with what to write about. I am sort of tired of writing about things relating to me. I feel like my head is a confused sea of ideas. Can you help me?
My reply:
For me, ideas to write about come from months and months of research. Pick something that thematically interests you -- the plight of the poor, race relations, the abortion issue, internationalism, whether it makes since to spend money going into space, the question of whether God exists -- and then just immerse yourself in reading nonfiction on that topic looking for ideas and points related to it that lend themselves to dramatic treatment.

Books don't spring full-blown from one's forehead; they are the results of months of research and planning before the first word is written.

Good luck!

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site



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