Welcome to day 3 in fiction-writing Ideas Off The Top of My Head! Today's tip...
3. Don’t write it unless you love it.
When choosing what to write your story about, pick the idea (perhaps from your story idea file) that excites you right now the most. Not what you think will sell the best, or what your friend says would be really cool to read, or what would make your high school English teacher proudest. Unless you get a crazily rabid fan base (which most of us won’t), it’s safe to say no one will care about this book as much as you do, nor spend as much time with it as you will. So pick a plot and a set of characters you will seriously freaking love.
That said: keep in mind you probably won’t love them immediately. It’s fine if you only like them at first. In fact, this rule, while lovely and simple and very important to follow, is actually perhaps one of the hardest to follow, because it’s not always easy to zero in on what you most want to write about. So start with the central bits, the idea(s) that you’re almost certain you want to include. A particular couple who should fall in love. A certain magical location. A historical time and place. A mood, even: funny, scary, romantic, suspenseful. Thinking back on stories you’ve loved will probably help you choose what you most want.
Then when you have your central kernel or two of inspiration, start embroidering around it. What might you do with this couple, this magic, this time in history, this idea of scariness or hilarity or what have you? Specifically, what do you want to do with it? Presumably this is going to be a book you wish existed in the world, because you would love to read it, so what kind of stuff would happen in a book like that?
It’s all yours. Make it happen. Keep working on it, and even if you don’t feel the love at first, it will engulf you as you write further, as long as you’ve chosen subject matter you can seriously dig.