How To Test Your Story Idea

By on August 5, 2020

If you have got an idea for a new story, how do you test it to see whether it has legs? When it comes to writing, our only limitations are our imaginations. However, this does not automatically mean that every idea we have is a good one. So how do you find out if the idea that came to you the other day in a rush of excitement and adrenaline is actually worth pursuing? Let’s explore how to build your story ideas so you can be sure that they will sustain a full story. 

Flesh it out

The test is a simple one. You need to be able to add depth to your story. If you get stuck and a racking you brains at this stage, the warning flags should appear. If however, you find it easy to get more of a sense of your characters and how the story will flow, you might be onto something good.

Here are some exercises to try. 

Write a single page about your protagonist

Write a full page describing who your main character is. The central character in your novel should be someone you feel strongly connected to and can visualize easily, so writing a page exploring who they are should be no problem. 

Sum up the central idea

Every story needs a solid idea at its core. See if you can get to grips with yours in just a few sentences. 

Write the opening few paragraphs

You should be excited to start your story, so test out the idea by writing the opening to see if you feel as though you can start to build your fictional world and the characters that inhabit it. 

Plot out the story points

You should also be able to map out your story in its entirety. This doesn’t have to be an in-depth plot outline for now, but at least you should be able to see where it is going and how your character’s journey progresses

If you are able to do the above and are left feeling exciting, confident, and desperate to get started, it looks like you have a story idea worth pursuing. If however, you found the process laborious, frustrating, and difficult, you might find that you are wasting your time. At this early stage if the ideas aren’t flowing and you aren’t excited, you’ll find it an even tougher challenge to write an entire novel. Writing a book takes a mammoth amount of time and effort so you need to be fully engaged from the outset, otherwise its unlikely you’ll ever get to the end. 

Your plot should be full of action and conflict, a clear goal, and revolving around an arresting cast of characters. Once you’ve got this established you are ready to write. So the next time you are deliberating over whether to pursue a story idea, use the above to test it and you’ll soon discover whether it’s one you should invest more time in. 

bethany cadman
Bethany Cadman - bethanycadman.co.uk

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