We all have them, ideas that come to us at the most unexpected times, while waking up or taking the shower or driving somewhere, or walking the dog. There is that moment, a pause, ask then like lightning you hear it and see it, and in that moment you’re exuberant.
This is the best idea ever!
The problem with ideas is, they’re a dime a dozen, and most people do nothing about them. You can have a million ideas and not a single book written.
The hard work comes after the idea is born. Write it down, then stretch it to the breaking point.
Think of it as a rope. Let’s say, it’s a very simple idea.
A girl meets a boy.
Great, now imagine you stretch it and twist it, and it becomes...
A girl meets a bear, a girl finds out the bear is a boy.
A bit of Russian folklore here for you, just for fun. See how I stretched it and twisted it? (By twisting I mean throwing in something unexpected and throwing the reader off guard, so as to have them keep reading.)
Let’s do more.
A girl gets caught by a bear, the bear almost eats the girl, the girl finds out the bear is a boy.
And some more.
A girl goes to the woods to meet a boy, the girl spies how a bear kills the boy, the girl flees but the bear catches the girl, the bear nearly eats the girl when she talks to the bear, the bear answers and falls to the ground and turns into a boy, the girl falls for this new boy, and the boy falls for the girl.
And even more.
A Soviet girl wants to escape the marriage her parents are forcing her into (to marry the son of a prominent communist party member), the girl has long loved the neighbor boy (the son of an alcoholic factory worker), the neighbor boy promises an escape to the girl if she comes to the woods on the outskirts of Moscow at a certain day and certain hour, the girl sneaks out of the apartment building at night and goes to the woods only to hear roars and screams…
Okay, I can keep going forever. You get the point. Somehow this turned into a kind of s smorgasbord of Russian fairy tales and dark Soviet history (no surprise there).
So that’s how you go about your idea. Stretch it, twist it. Stretch it, twist it. Keep doing it until you have enough material for a book. Then set to plotting it in detail. Then write it, and when done, congratulate yourself on turning your idea into a real book.