Generating ideas for writing a novel - Mo Fanning Author
New York writing

Generating ideas for writing a novel

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New York writing

When I came up with the idea for my next book, I had to decide if I was up to the job of writing the story of a 67-year-old New Yorker. A Jewish man.

I wasn’t sure if I was up to the task, but decided to give it a try. It would mean a lot of research, but that was okay. I was feeling motivated.

I started by creating a character sketch, including all the details I needed to know about him. My new character was born and raised in New York. He was a guy who looked after gardens in the summer and worked as a department store Santa once a year. He lived alone in a one-bedroom apartment.

I was at a loss as to how to move forward with my character sketch. I didn’t want to write about a 67-year-old dying of cancer and loneliness, but I didn’t want to write about a man who was in perfect health. There wasn’t much drama there. This character is not a new one. He’s been in my head for months.

Writing away from the obvious

I decided to take my character sketch and turn it into a story about a man who is having a health crisis. After a small heart ‘incident’, he’s been warned to change his diet and lifestyle. That helped me decide how he’s a man who doesn’t like to be told what to do, who decides to ignore his doctor’s advice. What happens next? Will he live to regret ignoring the doctor’s advice? Or will he be alright?

I had no idea where the story might take me. I wasn’t sure if it would be a romance with a happy ending. It could end in a heartwarming way. It could go in quite a different direction. In the end, I was happy with the outcome. I have loved writing this book.

The first draft took two months. I set to work writing another draft, then sent the story out for feedback. I felt confident about the story, but didn’t want other eyes to see something I’d missed. This produced some good feedback from trusted friends, but also from a few honest readers who liked the story and suggestions. because the last thing I want is to be cancelled, I arranged a sensitivity read that helped open my eyes to unintentional bias.

I feel good about this book. I can’t wait to share it with you. If you’re an author, I hope you find my story helpful. If you are a reader, I hope you enjoy this story.

What are you working on? What do you hope to achieve with your next story? How did you get to where you are? Share your journey with me in the comments.

By Mo Fanning

Mo Fanning is a British author of dark romantic comedies including the Book of the Year nominated bestseller 'The Armchair Bride', 'Rebuilding Alexandra Small' and 2022's hit holiday romcom 'Ghosted'.

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