Is there a budding author inside of you?  With everyone currently confined to home and running out of ideas to fill the hours, award-winning author Joan Gelfand shares expert tips to help anyone to start Writing Your First Book,’ including advice on how/where to start looking for original storyline ideas. An award-winning author, Joan will be releasing her next great summer read, EXTREME in July.



1. What’s your story? 

 Your own personal story might be just the recipe for a great plotline to Writing Your First Book Or, a recipe might be the perfect starting point! Think “Julie and Julia” the fabulous movie about a young woman who takes on the creation of Julia Child’s recipes as the challenge of her life.



2. Read the news. 

The next juicy protagonist might actually be right in front of you—in the papers, on the Internet or in a magazine. Great characters can be based on the real lives of politicians, celebrities, heroes and everyday people. A great summer beach read, murder mystery, chick-lit, sci-fi or crime story can grow with just the seed of an idea. Genre fiction is hot! 


3. History can repeat itself ..

. in other ways, shapes or formats. Are there historical figures or periods in history that fascinate you? Are you obsessed with an obscure figure whose story has not been told? Or do you have some intelligence that has not been made public? Gelfand reminds us that while All the Light We Cannot See was probably the thousandth book written on World War II, Anthony Doerr found a way into the story with a young protagonist that was so compelling it won the Pulitzer Prize.

4. Use the Internet.


 Search engines like Google or Bing or platforms like YouTube are at your fingertips. Now, it couldn’t be easier to fact find. And don’t forget that when it’s OK to go out and congregate, librarians are a great resource too!

5. Romance, love or a bad divorce?

 Love makes for great stories; even ill-fated relationships can be superb jumping-off points. Think The Fault in Our Stars, The Way We Were, and Anna Karenina.


6. Mix it up.

 Writers tend to be introverted; however, you’d be surprised that a random Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn interaction can be the next inspiration for Writing Your First Book. Paris Blues Redux, Gelfand’s award-winning short story, was based on a chance interaction she had in a Paris department store with a world-class pianist.

7. Travel. Remember that?

Have you had any wild, scary, or even failed, adventures? Think Life of Pi. Exotic locations always lend themselves to great fiction. Gelfand wrote a story based on one image that struck her while traveling in Lombok, Indonesia. Let your imagination go. 

About the author:

Joan Gelfand, author of EXTREME, is also a coach and writing teacher. Her book, The 4 C’s of Successful Authors: Craft, Commitment, Community and Confidence is published by Mango Press. Gelfand’s reviews, poetry, and stories have won the Cervena Barva Fiction Award, The Chaffin Fiction Award, Red Room Authors award for reviewing and three Pushcart nominations. Her work has appeared in national and international publications, including the Los Angeles Review of Books, Rattle, PANK! Chicken Soup for the Soul, Prairie Schooner, Levure Litteraire, Voice and Verse, and the Toronto Review. A short film based on her poem “The Ferlinghetti School of Poetics” won best Poetry Film at the World Film Festival and was featured at 20 international film festivals. Joan is an active member of the National Book Critics Circle, a juror for the Northern California Book Awards and a contributor to the Huffington Post. She lives in San Francisco with her husband, Adam Hertz, a Silicon Valley veteran, and two beatnik kitties, Jack Kerouac and Lawrence Ferlinghetti.    


Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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