Hello Miriam, how are you? I can relate, I came up with idea for my novel when I was 10, and only eventually came up with a plot when I was 14. But once I actually started plotting, I had everything down in a week. How? I didn't know anything about writing, so I'm just going to tell you how it.happened, I didn't use any formulas or read any articles otherwise I would reference you. I'm going to shamelessly plug myself here because the best I can give you is my own experience.
My idea since I was 10 was, I wanted to right about a black girl who absorbed gamma rays. The question was HOW she would develop this power. I didn't want her to get her powers through some cliche lab aaccident or get her powers through some alien artifact that — shocker — the US government wants and they hunt her down because — another shocker — she's a "weapon of mass destruction" blah, blah. I didn't want that either.
For a while, like 2-3 years, I wrestled with the idea of her being an alien, but I didn't like it. See, I'd originally based this girl off me, and spoiler alert, I'm not an alien.
So one day in Physics class, when I was 14, we were discussing aliens. I asked my teacher if he believed in them, and he said yes. There are billions of galaxies out there, it's kind of selfish for us to think we're the only ones.
That got me thinking back on my novel. Then the grand idea just hit me. What if she's from Earth, but raised on another planet? A planet with the advanced technology to make a non-cliche accident, and then I went on... If she's adopted by the king or president of the planet — we won't get a cliche government chase.
Brilliant. I had it. And I never looked back.
What took me a week was figuring why and how she comes bk to Earth.
So, what have we learned from this story?
1. @Miriam, write what you want to right. Ask yourself, deep down, what do you want to write about it? You may not have all the details yet, but you may know the type of character, the genre, and stuff like that. Write because you want to write, write out of passion. Find the story you want to tell, and tell it.
2. Start with character. It's okay to be completely blank. And it's okay to have ideas that need developing.
Start by either creating or developing your character. Miriam, you said you wanted to create intriguing characters, start by creating them. Once you've created a character, it's easier to create a story for them. I would never have thought of an alien girl from Earth but raised on another planet, if it were not for my initial gamma girl. Create your characters first, and let them guide you on your story to take. You might come up with a character and think hey, "she needs a romantic partner... Tada, romance novel. Or, tada... Psychological thriller. Which leads me to my next point.
Ask yourself what genre you want to write in. This might be based off of your character, or just generally the genre you want to write in. And it's okay to want to write in multiple genres, but come on, we need a first novel here, so pick one and let's move on.
This is the part I wrestled with. This is the part you may also be wrestling with most. Now, unfortunately for you, I cannot give you an idea or help you create one. But based off of my experience, I can help you expand on your idea. It took me four years to plot my first book, but two months for my second, I learnt from my first experience, otherwise I wouldn't have written this whole essay.
Miriam, you said you have ideas, but they're not what you want to them to be. Similar to 10 year old me. This is what you can do.
1. Smudge those ideas together. If one idea doesn't seem strong enough, combine it with another idea.
Lab accident? Too cliche. Alien? Heard it before? Alien lab accident? Not too bad. Alien lab accident with a mystery — no one knows how it happened, and we don't find out to the end of the series? Perfect.
So, try and add your ideas together, even mix genres together, it's allowed.
2. Add a great premise to your initial idea.
A teenage girl saves the world? We've heard it before. A teenage girl saves the galaxy, still heard it before.
To save the galaxy, an alien girl, has to return to her home planet, Earth. What's so special about Earth? And what's so special about this girl?
Try to come up with a great premise for your idea/ideas. For example, if your idea was "an ordinary murder" add a greater premise. Raise the stakes darling, let's have the president murdered by his mother.
And that brings me to my next and final point.
3. Add a killer twist.
A twist is simply an "I did not see that coming." The more, the merrier. If you decide on one major killer twist, make sure your book isn't boring up until that point, which is why, regardless, you need a good premise.
Once you have everything, you can come up with a pitch.
Pitch: The president's murder was a shock to everyone. The number one suspect was naturally the opposition leader: Senator Christmas Socks, who was known for never being afraid to get his hands dirty. But when Detective Easter Underpants goes deeper into the case, she discovers it could've have been Christmas socks after all, the only people who could've murdered the president, were his family.
Then the elevator pitch is something like, "Detective Easter Underpants has to figure out which family member of the president, killed the president."
And then once you have your pitch, congratulations Miriam, you're only done with the first part of plotting. This is now when you go back up to Rick's comment and study Inciting incidents, midpoint shift and the like.
I've been typing since 7:00am, lol, I hope this helps you Miriam!!!