The first step of writing a novel is to figure out what you’re going to be writing about; a topic! There is no such thing as a process when it comes to choosing a topic, it can be an epiphany or it can be a result of an arduous struggle between your heart and your procrastination schedule. This can especially prove true if you’re sitting down for the two-month adventure of Preptober and NaNoWriMo, in which you’ll have to write 50k words in 30 days! In order to choose a topic that won’t tire you after just a week, we have some helpful tips that you can use as walking sticks:

#1 Think of something that you love enough to neglect everything else in your life

When you choose a topic to write about, you’re going to be spending as much time with it as you would with a person. Think of it like this; it would be another living organism that you have to coexist with. How could you not get along with it? Choosing a topic that you think would be popular is worse than choosing a topic that you have something to say about. It could be something personal, an issue that you think you could articulate better in fiction rather than tired instagram stories, or just some absurd idea that comes up in most conversations. Even if your first book might not be a literary masterpiece, it will be something that you love and something that you won’t regret. 

#2 Draw inspiration from the world around you

A story doesn’t have to be something that is out of this world. You can draw inspiration from real life, from the things that seem mundane, but if you look deeper, they will definitely have a lot to offer. A story is hidden around every corner, and it would be easier to recreate your world from real life for a challenge like NaNoWriMo because you have a large amount of words to complete in a short while. Exaggerate, expand, and build upon these ideas!

#3 Find inspiration in the things that emotionally move you

A writer pours their soul into their book. Writing a novel means that you have the responsibility of moving another person, emotionally impacting them, for better or for worse. To do that, you have to know what issues impact you emotionally and move you in order for you to have that impact through your writing. A writer has to know themselves before they can write a novel that will help others uncover their own emotions. 

#4 Give an idea time

If you find an idea that you love, allow it to sink in a little deeper. Give it a few days and see whether you feel as excited about it right now as you did when you discovered it. If you don’t, it’s time that you brainstorm for other ideas. But if you do, get started on your Preptober calendar! To get more tips and tricks about how to plan it, check out more articles on the PaperTrue Resource Center. 

#5 Make an ideas journal

It doesn’t have to be a different journal than your Preptober notebook, it can just be a section in that. Make sure that you keep a tab of all the unpredictable and crazy ideas that come to you throughout the day. Don’t dismiss any ideas as ‘stupid’ or ‘trivial’, note them down regardless. Who knows, from a small seed, a milestone of a novel might pop out? 

#6 Ask a lot of ‘What if’ questions

What if you encounter a scantily-clad woman on the snow-covered road that you’re driving on? What if you get a call that your parents have been in an accident? What if your house is locked from the outside and the residents of your building aren’t there? Questions like these often form the basis of a lot of short stories that I write, interplaying fiction with reality (the reality often being the setting). It allows you to take an idea from real life and play it up. 

Besides all this, keep monitoring the ‘Manuscript Wishlist Hashtag on Twitter (#MSWL). We’re not saying that choose a topic that agents want to see, but among these topics, you might find something that would pique your interest. Experience real life, keep your eyes and ears open and allow moments to seize you. That’s how an idea may take root in your head and never let go! To see more articles on tackling NaNoWriMo, check out the PaperTrue Resource Center!