Bestselling authors constantly generate fresh, new ideas that keep their readers craving more of their stories. Consequently, these readers rush out to grab up the books as soon as they are released, ensuring the book and the author remain firmly on the bestseller list, year after year.
How do bestselling authors maintain this creative productivity? In a previous post, we introduced the WRAP Method for Writers. The W in WRAP stands for “Widen Your Options.” Simply put, this means considering several ideas instead of one. Bestselling authors apply the “W” strategy by intentionally looking past the most obvious answers to their literary challenges of choosing titles, character motivations, scene endings and story arcs.
Bestselling authors determine the best, most potent “next step” in their fiction or non-fiction by considering two, four, six, eight, ten or more options and possibilities for every story situation. How many are you considering?
It doesn’t stop there. Bestselling authors also use a grab bag of techniques to propel their stories to the top of the bestseller lists. As promised in the previous post, here is more of those secret strategies to generate your own bestselling ideas:
- “Idea Juggling” – Closely related to comparing multiple choices, you apply this technique by quickly switching out options in your story. What if you changed one of the characters in the scene? What if the scene took place at night? On the beach? In an abandoned warehouse? At a funeral? Take one element of the story and rapidly change it to see if the “juggling” jogs any new ideas.
- “Laddering Up 1” In Decisive, this starts with seeking experts in your field who have already solved the problem your facing and ends with finding what works outside of your immediate field of study or outside of the most obvious experts. For us authors, this means looking at how bestselling authors (like we’re doing now!) solve literary challenges.
- “Laddering Up 2” In a larger sense, you can apply this method by looking outside the “box” of fiction or nonfictions. Fiction writers can ask themselves, “How are the most successful nonfiction authors choosing their titles?”. Nonfiction authors can conversely ask, “How do the best fiction authors who write handle my topic, setting, culture?”
Just as we are currently applying the Laddering Up 1 method, we are also doing Laddering Up 2 by “stealing” or “borrowing” best practices from a book on successful decision making. What other fields can you use in your own writing? Leadership, Architecture, Marketing – the list is endless!
Note: I believe it is important to point out that I have no monetary affiliation with the book, Decisive, and receive no compensation for endorsing it here on my blog. I simply consider it a wonderful resource for my personal and literary life and wanted to share it with other writers.
Question: How else can you use this powerful mix of strategies to produce bestselling ideas?