Is your book idea good? (Yes, I promise)

“If you write for yourself, you’ll always have an audience.” -Bruce Springsteen

“We can secure other people’s approval if we do right and try hard; but our own is worth a hundred of it, and no way has been found out of securing that.” – Mark Twain

It will take many hours to write a book. Therefore, you should write about something you, the writer, finds interesting.  Why not please yourself?

“Will anyone care about my story?” people ask. Yes – you. It starts with you. Many people with an idea want an authority to tell them their idea is worthy. Why is approval necessary? You are the one who is going to do all the work. No matter what support you get, or don’t, it will still be you that must put in many hours. If you think you want to write a book, than do it. I think you should, simply because you are thinking about it.

However, if you want a guarantee that you will sell thousands of copies, that’s a marketing problem, not a writing problem. You solve a marketing problem by studying how to market and sell books, which is a different skill from writing them. If you want a guarantee that you’ll be famous, that’s an ego problem, and also has little to do with writing. Writing is just a kind of work. Only you can decide you care enough about your idea to do the (writing) work required.

If you think your story can help people, that’s excellent. But it’s unlikely that you’d be the first to write about:

  • Being a recovering drug addict
  • Surviving divorce
  • Starting a successful company
  • Learning a major life lesson the hard/easy/fun way
  • Or whatever story, fictional or true, you want to write about

If you primarily want to help people, a far easier way is to find good books that already exist and convince more people to read them. The authors of those books will be grateful, and the readers who connect with them will be too. Writing a book yourself is the long way to go in helping other people.

If you’re thinking of writing, do some homework: does a book like yours exist? It probably does. The question then is: how is your story is different?  Or can you tell a similar story in a better way? Or aimed at a different audience? You’ll be a better writer if you become a better reader first. But of course independent of what others have done, you can decide you want to write your book anyway. You’ll learn much about yourself if you do. It’s an excellent investment of time, but only if you think it is too.

I say don’t wait for permission. Permission on creative matters is for cowards. Just write a draft of a single chapter and see what happens. Maybe it will be awful. Maybe wonderful. Who knows? No one. Not until you get off your ass and make the thing. Writing is easy bravery. No lives are at stake. You’re not doing heart surgery or charging across flaming trenches. Pick up the pen, go to the keyboard, and use your words. No one will see but you – why be afraid of yourself?  If you care about the idea for the book, do it. If you find it worthwhile or meaningful, that’s enough. Your idea is good because it’s yours, and it means something to you.

If in the end only one other person on the planet gets value from what you make, that alone justifies your efforts. That person might be a close friend, a distant stranger, or possibly even yourself, years later, when you rediscover this amazing thing you made, amazing simply because you made it. Your book idea is good because it’s yours. Whatever it is it’s good enough to be the book that you write. If an idea lingers in your mind, and won’t leave you alone, just do it. The only chance for sanity is to get the idea out of your mind and down on paper or on a screen.

If you think the story should be told, whether it’s yours, your Mom’s, or your imaginary friend Rupert’s, you are the only person in the world capable of telling it in the way you have it in your mind. Fiction, non-fiction, memoir, fantasy, a play, a novella, a blog, first person, third, a third person fantasy novella about Smurf memoirs, who cares? Form is a distraction. Certainly at first, and maybe always.

“All fiction is derivative, a fact that the good writer turns to his advantage, making the most of reader’s expectations, twisting old conventions, satisfying expectations in unexpected ways. “ – John Gardner, The Art of Fiction

So what if your idea is not original. The last 2000 years of literature is mostly borrowed from Sophocles and his buddies, or Shakespeare, or the ancient myths. It’s clear the telling of the tale can be more potent than the tale itself.  And for those ignorant of the books you’ve read, your story, however trite to you, might just blow their mind.

Don’t pester others for validation before you’ve written a word. Instead ask them to support your excitement and passion, for they can do that no matter how little sense your idea makes to them. Feedback? Sure. But feedback on an idea is mostly worthless. What confirmation do you need, or could you possibly get, for your own interest in an idea? The only way to know if an idea is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ is to do something with it.

And if you make it, and others don’t like it, you’re in good company. No author or artist has made something everyone likes. And for many authors and artists their friends were their only fans in their lifetimes.

Ideas can seem to tease us in our minds – they hover out of reach, too far for mere thinking to knock them on their ass. It’s only the act of making an idea real, through writing, drawing, filming or other manifested work  that we pin ideas down long enough to discover what they can or cannot be in the world. Many will crumble. Some will disappoint. Some might need to linger again in our minds, for weeks or years. But the glory is that in every attempt there are new seeds to plant elsewhere. There is always more. People who never make anything don’t know this, but there is always more. You lose nothing by making. If your idea fades, before it disappears it will help you find others.

It’s only through effort that we learn what an idea actually is, and if our passion for it will last or fade. There is no shame in failure – all makers fail. But it’s hard to respect someone who never tries, even once, to do something good that’s always on their mind. If you’re worried about how good your idea is, you’re worrying about the wrong thing.

Get started. It’s the only way. If this essay doesn’t get convince you, and yet you keep thinking about writing, this might explain why.

Or if you want to begin, go here.

[edited 12-5-15]

262 Responses to “Is your book idea good? (Yes, I promise)”

  1. Alan

    I am planning on writing a book on how to get motivated and stay motivated. I thought I had it figured out after I climbed Kilimanjaro, but now I realize that I am still learning. So, it is still a work in progress, as I am too!

    However, I think that all my experiences of inner learning, growing, self development may offer a unique perspective and will have the potential to help a lot of people achieve their dreams.

    One of the main things that I have learned is that personal development comes at a price. What I mean by that is that you can spend $10,000 to go to a seminar or you can just buy the book for $25. Either way, you MUST do the work and the work is very arduous and time consuming.

    My book will detail the methods I have used to make lasting changes and improvements in my life and also detail the things I have succeeded in, the struggles I still have and the level of commitment that I devote to this thing called life.

    My goal is to continue to learn and grow the rest of my life and to teach people that no matter where they are and what they have, it can and will get better if they take the right actions and follow through over an extended period of time.

  2. Sam

    I love reading and writing, I am a fiction writer, this article has really helped me, because I like most of my ideas and I get about half way through a book and then wonder if people will like it and if it’s worth it and I stop working on it. This article has given me a new hope to continue my writing and maybe finish one of my books. Thanks! I love all the articles and tips you have!

  3. Maddie

    I often am told I have great ideas and I am a good writer but there is one problem: the story feels rushed. I tend to rush an awful lot so I was hoping someone would have some advice for me.

  4. Sarah Potter

    I’m writing a book/series that will be a sequel to the ENTIRE Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling. It’s about a girl who is Harry Potter’s twin named Sarah. neither of them no it. the night Lily and James Potter die, October 31, Dumbledore sends Hagrid to take Harry, who is 1, to the Dursley’s, while he and Minerva McGonagall take Sarah, who is also 1, to a distant (and i mean distant) aunt and uncle, Matilda and Albert Cuck. Matilda is pregnant at the time Dumbledore brings Sarah.Sarah “Cuck” lives their for 12 years until she is 13. She is treated terribly. Then a week from September 1, Sarah recieves her Hogwarts letter and Dumbledore takes her to Diagon Alley, where she meets Draco Malfoy and the two fall in love. She keeps it a secret from Ron, Harry, and Hermione, who she eventually meets

    On x-mas day a scar appears on her forehead and her, mcgonagall, ron, and harry all go up to Dumbledore’s office where he explains everything

    In the spring, everyone finds out sarAh and malfoy were dating. A week till school ended, Malfoy cheated on Sarah and they broke up.

    (more detail to come)
    the book would be called S. A. Potter (the A. is for her middle name, Aaryn)

    tell me if you like

    1. booksholic em

      im sure it would be great but there is copyrigh to think about
      and alot of angry fans (like me) for ruining a story as amazing as harry potter

    2. SRG

      Hello it actually sounds great but however the books r made you were going in the right direction but make it were she hid the whole time during the 8 movies she comes to find Harry to tell him n somehow voltamorts followers find out n it can help voltamort become human again since he always finds a way back n Harry’s kids should be included to… Just a thought

  5. Sarah Potter

    I’m writing a book/series that will be a sequel to the ENTIRE Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling. It’s about a girl who is Harry Potter’s twin named Sarah. neither of them no it. the night Lily and James Potter die, October 31, Dumbledore sends Hagrid to take Harry, who is 1, to the Dursley’s, while he and Minerva McGonagall take Sarah, who is also 1, to a distant (and i mean distant) aunt and uncle, Matilda and Albert Cuck. Matilda is pregnant at the time Dumbledore brings Sarah.Sarah “Cuck” lives their for 12 years until she is 13. She is treated terribly. Then a week from September 1, Sarah recieves her Hogwarts letter and Dumbledore takes her to Diagon Alley, where she meets Draco Malfoy and the two fall in love. She keeps it a secret from Ron, Harry, and Hermione, who she eventually meets

    On x-mas day a scar appears on her forehead and her, mcgonagall, ron, and harry all go up to Dumbledore’s office where he explains everything

    In the spring, everyone finds out sarAh and malfoy were dating. A week till school ended, Malfoy cheated on Sarah and they broke up.

    (more detail to come)
    the book would be called S. A. Potter (the A. is for her middle name, Aaryn)

    tell me if you like this

    1. Alex G Ndiritu

      Thenx a lot for your advice, am in Kenya and am a motivational books writer,i wrote my first book when just 18years old,speaking the truth marketing is not easy,but now am planning to publish it online through Amazon KDP,and am hoping for the best,I believe success isn’t a bydeway, you need to work and think professionally.

  6. Michelle Martinez

    I have been wanting to write a book for several years. My favorite classes in college were always the ones I had to write papers for because I was always successful in that area. When I read a story I often find myself thinking about different words I would have used, something I would have added or left out in order to keep it more fluent/interesting or how the ending could have been different and if that different ending would have changed a reader’s opinion of if it was a good book or not. My greatest problem has always been settling on an idea for a book. I have started many fiction books and have never finished a single one because I wasn’t in love with the story myself. Many have told me that I should write about my own life over the past 5-7 years as they say the things I have experienced are enough to make for “a great read”. I tried that too, but not with results I felt were to my satisfaction. I recently came up with an idea that I feel great about, and that I am still piecing together to try. I decided I want to take my personal history that has followed a path of unusual circumstances, along with the traditional trials of marriage and attempt to write a non-fiction book. I would like to take my lessons learned from personal experiences (including everything from the all-to-common-these-days struggles of being cheated on, to having my brand new Tahoe set on fire by a stalker who did prison time in a community where that was what I became recognized for until I finally moved away, to working things out with my husband through the most difficult and unimaginable episodes one could dream of…and still being married 20 years later…all while going from being so broke we returned cans to buy diapers to him being very successful making a strong 6 figures). I would like to take these experiences and tie them in with the professional education I gained along the way and write a book about “how to make a marriage work no matter what…with a “too many people give up these days” attitude and a “what’s your excuse?” concept. I want to write the book I looked for during my hard times of my relationship and couldn’t find. A book with my experiences and those of others…one that points out that there is no “normal, ideal or perfect” in marriage. I want to write a book that allows one to see that their thoughts of wanting to “off” their spouse (or who they cheated with) or retaliate in anger is very normal in the beginning stages of being hurt, but to act on those feelings will classify as insane and get you locked up, but that those feelings will go away…and signs when you know that they are going away, which I know gives comfort of not being alone in the world and hope for looking for the right signs. I want it to be light hearted and funny at times, but also give serious advice from someone who has experienced similar feelings and situations. I have been writing down my thoughts, along with talking to others about their experiences and combining it with my educated thoughts. Basically all coming together as the “self help” book I wanted and hope to help others through the aggravating moments life throws our way in marriage or relationships. I’m moving forward whether it ever gets published or not because it is very therapeutic to write it and I really hope I can help at least one person along the way on this journey.

  7. Kylie M

    I didn’t think to write a book till this year when people were asking.. I make art. I have a whole fantasy world with creatures and plants and characters and places and just page after page about this world. Info; not story. And I have lots of things I’ve brought to life through art that comes from this world. I want to write about it, kind of, but have No Idea where to start or what it to be about or anything. I don’t even know what a good plot entails. I read quite a lot but have never really understood oh that’s what they did; this is what this person did. But even if I understood I would feel like it’s ripping them to use the same stuff. Like how Avatar is just alien Pocahontas. I just have No idea what I’m doing or where to start. If someone could tell me basics that’d help. Plot and what makes one. That would help. I just am Way too noob at this. I have all the info, but no story.

    1. Charlie

      If you have a whole fantasy world in your head, I would say you have already don a lot of work. Just try to find something like a problem that that world have. Then just find that one character that is trying to solve the problem. I don’t know, if there is war, find a man, who is fighting for his country and victory tepends on him (just an idea). If there is somebody, who is trying to kill the king/president/leader/a normal person, find someone who saves people who are in trouble. It doesn’t have to be so big problem. It can also be some normal man, who is trying to get the money for his family. It also doesn’t have to be a problem. It can be a good thing and people are trying to do/get/keep it. Then, decide where you will begin the story and then just make it. Don’t just write. Try to make the words as colourful as you can so that you don’t tell the story, but you actualy picture it inside the reader’s head. That’s what helped me a lot.

      1. Charlie

        It’s just an idea about the plot in a fantasy world and how I would do it. It can be in a completely differwnt way.

  8. Sue

    all i can say for beginner writers is don’t pay attention to how many word counts there are or want when you’ll write your story. yes they do matter, but to start, not important. so don’t even think about the word counts. don’t think about how many chapters you’ll want to have or thinking. thinking how many chapters you’ll want to have will just limit to your creativity for your story. don’t even name your chapters yet, just have chapter 1, chapter 2 and so on. you can have the chapter names later. so that you’ll focus on a chapter and the events in each chapter. when you’ll go through the 1st draft you’ll might get the idea of what you’ll want to call your chapters by name. don’t outline to heavy. otherwise you’ll ruin the best parts in your story that you thought were exciting. when you go to actually writing the fun scenes, you’ll won’t find them fun or intriguing anymore. when you write your book, do you want to be surprise, excited or scared when you’ll come a scene in your book? for me personally, i hate outlining. i write whatever comes to mind. whether the ideas will be stupid or not, i don’t care, I’ll write them. the 1st draft is really about getting the story down, from the beginning to the middle and to the end. so when I’m done with a 1st draft, I’ll edit how much until i think the book is done. your 1st draft is going to suck, you’ll have to admit it, but you can fix it. also, when you write, don’t think how many hours or how many word counts you’ll write each day. don’t, just write. for me, I’ll stop writing until I’m tried of writing for the day or when I think this is enough for me today. always end your writing day with a sentence not complete. these tips if you call them that, are here to help you guys. they might sound strange, confusing and unusual, but the more you focus on the story alone, you’ll finish your 1st draft much faster. as of matter of fact these tips will be consider a big no no to professional writers or to some you writers here. everyone has a different way of writing and this is my way of writing.

  9. Iuri Almeida

    Hi, I´m portuguese and I have been writing since a very young age, but never had the guts to actually publish anything, despite supportment from both my family and a friend. My latest story is about a boy and a girl, both teenagers who live in a rural area. Both of them can talk to animals and use that gift to befriend many animals. Their main enemy is a gian grizzly bear nicknamed Scarred-Face, who has strenght and durability beyond that of normal bears. As the story progresses, both of them make other enemies and friends. There are several stories besides the main one that explain how said boy and girl made so many friends.

    So yeah it´s kind of weak, I know. Mostly aimed at children and teenagers, but I have more mature stories but I´ll leave that for later. Go easy on me, alright? Thanks in advance. I´ll write more details about this one later.

  10. Iuri Almeida

    I am Portuguese and I have been writing since a young age, but never actually had the guts to try to publish my ideas. I become very excited when I think I could share my ideas with the world, but then a lot of questions pop in my head like: will people enjoy it? Will they just dismiss it? Will someone take this seriously other than myself? I think you can say I´m afraid of what will happen if I go forward with this, but that at the same time I just can´t leave my idea on paper. So… here it goes. My first idea for a book:

    The story is set on a rural area from the USA. It tells the story of Billy and Hilda, two teenagers who live in that area. Billy lives in a village and Hilda in a farm owned by her parents, alongside her younger brother, Peter. At first glance, Billy, Hilda and Peter look like normal children, but they actually have something very special. They have a unique gift that allows them to talk to animals. Thanks to this gift they have made many animal friends which include Cláudia, a female cat who is a very good hunter, Jeremy, the male cat who considers himself the greatest heartbreaker in the universe, and Samantha, a female dog who loves to play and jumping around everywhere. Together, the three humans and their animal friends live a simple, happy life in that rural area.
    But it´s not always that peaceful around those parts. Those calm plains are also home to a giant grizzly bear nicknamed Scarred Face by the locals. That bear is so dangerous it became quite of a legend. Mothers tell their sons and daughters to not venture in the dark or the bear will get them. Hunters pray to never see him while they are outdoors. And even the wild animals greatly fear him, considering him a evil demon. The bear is not the main villain, but is a serious threat to the lives of the protagonists and will prove to be a deadly foe, requiring great teamwork and determination to defeat.
    But if that bear is not the main villain, who is? It´s none other than David Richard Perez. A man who is an old childhood friend of Billy´s father. At first he pretends to be an helpful friend, but reveals that under that friendly facade lies a cruel and heartless man, who is completely selfish and greedy, caring only about makiing money and feeling zero simpathy for who he must kill or hurt in order to get a quick buck. As soon as he knows about Billy, Hilda and Peter´s gift, he immediatly tries to use it to make money, but later notices that Billy has another gift besides the one of talking to animals… something much more rare then that.
    You see, Billy was also born with an ability only know as the ” Prevision”. An extremely rare ability that is also poorly known. As such it´s impossible to determine how a human being can be born with it. The ability, like it´s name suggests, allows the carrier to see through future events. It manifests itself through nighmares and visions. Poor Billy simply cannot understand why his sleep is haunted by those horrifying nightmares or why he occasionally finds himself having those confusing visions. Richard, however, knows that he can “absorb” the ability out of it´s carrier to use in his experiments and creating a dangerous produt that he will cover up as a miraculous cure, hoping to make billions by selling it. Richard easily gains Billy´s trust (as our hero is very trusting and wants to be friends with everyone) and manipulates him into falling for a trap. Now his friends must fight to save him from Richard´s hands… all while avoiding the dangerous Scarred Face.
    Side characters include Mathias, a peregrine falcon who the heroes save and treat his broken wing, earning his loyality in the process and Sandra, a young woman who is blind and whose very kind personality instantly wins over the heroes. She is later revealed to be Richard´s daughter, who he blinded while using her for his experiments and discarding her when said experiment failed (not wanting to be bothered by a blind daughter who would be of no economic use for him). Other characters also include Tony, a rat who was part of a rat colony that operated under a brutal regime (he fled that colony and is now pursued by his former friends) and Helena and Scorpio, a black cat and a Siberian Husky, respectively, who work as agents of a police organization and who are after Richard, intending to put a stop to his crimes.

    So yeah… sorry if I was long-wided. What do you think? Please let me know.

    1. Jaque

      He literally said in his writing that asking for feedback on an idea is worthless, read what he said

      1. Scott

        Thanks Jaque. Let this post be proof that people often read what they want to read into whatever they’re reading/

    2. Aalihyanna S.

      Sorry, but you really shouldn’t leave your ideas on websites because someone could steal your ideas. I will not, however there are many others who might just think your idea is brilliant and turn your book into their own. Please be careful. I wish you the best of luck on your journey in writing.

    3. Sam Semako

      Almeida, that’s a good storyline. You will need a mentor (a guide), a proof reader (editor). Keep it up.

      I love the story.

  11. Mr Luke

    Now here’s the thing, why would any up and coming wanna-be writer go and give their basic idea out to the world for anyone to see and therefore steal if they think its a good idea? I find this very strange, my ideas are closely guarded secrets until ive written them, then i will share with family and friends before going forward. I would hate to share my idea then have it stolen by some unsuspecting day dream writer. Is it just me that feels this way?

    1. Rachel Thompson

      It just feels that way. Plagiarism is rare in the industry and frankly only you can do your idea the way you see it in your mind’s eye. 3 people writing the same idea will produce 3 different books–you can’t rip off style and word choices

  12. stephanie rea

    i am 15, i have been writing a book for 6 month now i have had times were i stopped due to writers block, education , friend and other stuff.
    it is about a women who had woke up with a broken leg which she can barely walk on, with no memory in a hotel rooms bathroom. her husband was murdered. so she trys to get out she collapses in the hotel foyer go to hospital. after hospital she goes home and feels unhappy she is quite rich and lives in a big house. she gets kidnapped and locked in a room by her husbands killer who also plans to kill her. she gets out in someway and trys to get out. she get to a phn rings the police she get through but then gets caught. does she get away or not? she doesnt get away. build of suspense then police bust into the building arrest the guy he get caught and but in jail

    1. Sam Hill

      Well… it’s a good idea. But it’s very short from what I see and the way you wrote that comment doesn’t seem like it’ll be well written. Also saying things like “in someway” indicates you need to plan it out better…. Best wishes on your story.


      Nah, that was to short

  13. Tiffany

    I just want to say thank you for all the information you’ve posted about becoming a published writer as well as writing a book. Writing is my passion but I’ve never had an idea I’ve been passionate about turning into a book until a few months ago. Your advice, particularly this article, has really helped me. Thank you so much!

    1. William

      Well said.
      I myself have so many stories
      Lines in my book.
      The books name is (The other
      Side of Infinity).a story about
      The collective of individuals
      On this planet that make individual
      Choices of their own.Choices that
      Affects every other person on
      Earth.The main character is
      Not immune to this.A murder
      Attempt throws him into a place
      That to him is chaos.but he soon
      Finds out that he is a setan,which
      Is an individual not from this world
      An alien who is able to exist between dimensions.what some
      People call ghosts,evil spirits
      Amoung other thing.
      I could on forever but then I’m
      Kinda secretive.
      I will say that I sometimes
      Get ahead of myself.
      But I have confidence in
      Myself .this book will surprise
      Everyone that reads it

      1. William

        You will have to wait a few
        More years
        But I promise you that that I’m
        Try really hard to make the
        Unbelievable seem believable
        That the truth is sometimes
        Stranger than fiction

  14. Hondo

    I have a fiction book I’ve been working on. While I don’t believe this “idea” has been done before – don’t we all say that? – I’d like to research that to see if my thinking holds true. Is there a means to search topics, plots, premises, etc., to ascertain an answer? I’ve googled various key-words, but nothing so far. Seems there must be a place to have a definitive result. Thanks in advance.

    1. doyst

      I think you’ll find most ideas have been done. You just need to look at Hollywood over the last few years and the amount of remakes they are churning out nowadays. How many stories do you know where a moody, dark eyed man, full of secrets and attitude, walks into a bar, or a clearing and unwittingly starts a feud with the bad guy.
      I love reading, love films. I have had ideas for a novel since I was a child,rewriting lord of the rings for my own entertainment. Characters are what makes a good read. Well crafted characters,ones you believe in and grow as you lay them out, flaws and all,on the page.
      I am of the notion that you need to write for yourself. Any else that comes of it is a bonus.

  15. steve hardin

    I just have an idea for a story that just may fi our times. People are looking for something that may five them hope. My story, in a fictional way does this.
    Anyone interested? You have my email address.
    Thank you for your time. Steve

  16. Mickie

    I think that all these points relate exactly the same as if you want to start a band and write music which is what I took from it!

    Really rad advice, so thank you!

  17. amanduh

    This was a refreshing post.
    I should write, but I don’t. My problem is not in coming up with an idea. I’m just oozing ideas… but then I try to perform a cost benefit analysis- will people like this idea? Is this idea overdone? Will this idea come in and out of fashion by the time I’ve made something of it? And I kill every single one of them. I have written several novel-length works purely for myself; with no intentions of publishing or even having others read them. They came easily that way, and if I ever want to write again that’s how I’m going to have to approach it.

    1. Rachel Thompson

      A writer must always write for himself first or or he will never get it done–if you like it others will too. To make it market worthy is a not depended on the idea as much as if the work meets industry standard. That part is all craft execution and editing. If it’s readable it is publishable but attracting a publisher or self publishing well is yet another layer in the business of writing.

  18. Ireland

    I have an idea for a love story with a bit of thrill between a teenage couple but i haven’t quite got to the big thrill scenes yet!!?? I’m getting there i have the Introduction already in my head but i haven’t written anything down yet:(
    And i have the character names in mind but until i get most of the plot i won’t write all of it down yet.:))

  19. jason

    Hmmm. I see your point in writing mainly for yourself, but I just cant agree. If all you are doing is writing for self enjoyment, than the opinion of others is pointless. However, some, like me, write with the hope of making money from our writings. In this case, their opinions is vital to your success. So far i have an idea i love. I am even in the process of writing the novel. Issue is, the segments i have had others read have all lead to the same conclusion. That is, they hate the main character! I love her but no one else does. I think the story could potentially still sell and that is the only reason i am continuing. however, there is a very real possibility that i will fail. If that happens i will have wasted 2 years of my life for nothing. Sure, I may like it, but that is irrelevant if others dont. An artist can not make a living doing their work if others dont buy it.

    1. Roger

      I see nothing wrong with hating the main character. In fact, wouldn’t that be something unique and less traditional.

    2. Rachel Thompson

      The answer is character arc. Characters must change and grow over the story. If the reader hates her at first but comes to see in her what you see, then the story succeeds. But, you must have a strong plot or some other interests to sustain it while she learns and grows. We don’t always have to start out rooting for the protag, but if we don’t end up that way, or rooting for what she must do, you have nothing. Look at Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the wind. The little bitch winds up a super star,but maybe we still don’t like her, we like what she accomplished.

    3. Sam Hill

      I believe this article was for writing for your enjoyment and other’s enjoyment. And there is nothing wrong with hating the main character. I’ve read many books where the main character was as bitchy and narcissistic as anyone could be, yet the book was good because her attitude made it interesting and the plot was supporting her life style. I am currently writing a story about a convict myself, who kills people for the fun of it. You aren’t supposed to like him, but it adds a large part of the main plot in the story. From what I see your story could be very interesting. I wish I could read it when it was finished.

    4. Vickie Hudgins

      If you enjoy writing how can it be a waste of time? Have you submitted your manuscript? Why not? It is easy to find excuses not to put yourself out there. What is the worst that can happen? Would you be any worse off? Some of my favorite characters are those that I hated.

  20. scottish diane

    i am currently writing a book about my life im 40 and was a drug addict for 15 years and i was abused as a child which led me to a horrific lifestyle i had 4 kids all who were taken to care i am now clean and i think my life story would give people hope as i was 34 before i changed my life and it has turned full circle ijust want to throw it out and see what people think of this idea.

    1. Rachel Thompson

      It’s been done, but nobody called your name never did it and none but you has your perspective. Write it well and interested people will read it.

  21. Nadine

    Just wanted to thank you for this, from the bottom of my heart. I have a ton of aspirations, fears, hopes, dreams and dreads when it comes to writing a book, and you’ve somehow laid them to rest here. Time to get started!

  22. Jessica Rivera

    I actually have a great idea I want to write about in my book. It’s an autobiography about my life. I’ve came up with 7 outlines for chapters and have included a title for each chapter and a quote on each chapter and want to include more outlines of chapters because to be honest after what’s occured in my life, I feel like my story needs to be told. The only thing is that I can’t seem to find my old journal I use to write in from 2009-2012 and I feel that would be a big help and my question is, even though I don’t have my old journal to guide me through with my writing, I still have old poems, new poems, documents, a title for the book and even a cover, I still feel my old journal would be a big help. This article including other ones have been a big help because I stopped writing 2 weeks ago but even if I don’t find my journal, I’ll try my best to continue writing and try to remember all the important events that have occured in my life and put it down on paper. Thank you for not only this article but several articles you have written, they have motivated me a lot to get back into the game of writing a book

  23. manuparasuraman

    well to start up i am 13 . i have started writing a book i have started my book about a year ago its about a boy in the babylonian era who rightfully dethrones the wicked the wicked king. i think i am writing the story too fast without actually elongating much i would like to know what you think about my story and ways i can improve it i am up to my tenth chapter i would love it if you could give me your email trough which i could send you a copy of my book

    1. Sam Hill

      Hey this comment is a bit late, but I’d love to read your story. Sounds cool. Email is (Not my main one obviously, but the one I use for social affairs.) Writing fast through a story is always a concern on every writer’s mind. It’s good to finish the book and read the entire thing. See if you can read this 110 page book within a day or if you can read it like any respectable novel.

  24. Race Foreman

    Still good information, Scott, I was saying, “OMG, this is for me!” Am writing and loving it and, ew la la!

  25. christina

    I’m writing a book about a girl who finds an amulet that can lead her to a whole other world but something goes wrong in the process and he cant get back. She realizes that she is being timed and she needs to find a way out before its to late. She has to solve a series of puzzles mazes and monsters to find her way out and maybe find something worth keeping on the way out.

  26. Devi

    Thanks author it gave me a best inspiration to continue further…..

  27. Christopher Claseman

    I have found out that there is no good books for people that have mental disabilities like aspergers syndrome (a high functioning form of autism), that may need some help as an adult that is starting out in living in the Social Services System. I also understand that every state is different on some level, but the fundamental premises areally the same, how to house these individuals who live in the system while trying to help them become their own best advocate for getting the most services that he or she may require. I feel that that a book like this would have two unique perspectives. The first one is the fact that I am living with Aspergers Syndrome and the second is that it would provide a a unique perspective for both Social Workers and people who need help in dealing with certain issues that I have had experience with. I feel that there are a lot of self help books out there, but for someone who is living the scenarios and have experinces that others might be having with their own workers. I don’t want it to be a traditional self-help book, but want it to be a book that can help others broaden other people’s perspectives of what it’s like to live with a disability and in the Social Services System.

  28. Maali Marvin Kenneth

    Thank you Scott. You did really speak to me. I’ve listened.
    What do I think about writing ?
    Paraphrase : ‘It is the only way ideas can ever linger long enough to evolve until they become more real’.

    But yes, I admit, I do want the money.

  29. April Langton

    I was thinking of writing a book called ‘our princess is dead’ where a princess is forced to marry a prince and pretend to be in love with him and have a perfect fairytale life, but in reality he’s extremely verbally, physically, and sexually abusive. After her having enough she takes a knife and slits his throat, and leaves him to bleed out. Naturally, the guards find him so she runs away, cutting her hair, and transforming herself into a male. After living in a small village for a while with a new identity, and the guards having no luck and practically giving up, ‘he’ meets a charming and beautiful woman about ‘his’ age, and he falls in love with her. The guards decide to give it another shot and search the village, they become wary of him/her. I haven’t yet come up with all the details but there will be more to come



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