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The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing, 3rd Edition by Writer's Digest Writer's Digest Editors

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Chapter Four

Testing the Strength of Your Story Ideas

How to Ensure Your Idea Can Carry the Weight of a Novel

Fred White

“I have a great idea for a story,” you exclaim to a friend or spouse or just to yourself, only to have that idea lose steam after jotting down the opening paragraph. It’s not uncommon for a writer to spend months or even years on a novel, drafting dozens, maybe even hundreds, of pages before realizing that the story isn’t holding together or lacks distinction, or that the conflict is not strong enough or does not hinge upon a worthwhile goal, or that the characters lack flesh and blood.

You can decrease the likelihood of writing yourself into a corner by testing your story idea with key questions before you start drafting or ...

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