TSS #024: 7 Simple Ways to Validate Story Ideas for a Novel

Nov 5, 2022

Read Time: 3 minutes

You’ve had story ideas brewing in your mind for weeks, but are they worthy of the competition?

How can you tell if your ideas will stand out among the millions of people writing books in 2022? How do you know your ideas can be profitable or start leading to a full-time writing career?

All you have to do is take a step-by-step approach to see if they’re worth developing into a published book. Start with these 7 simple ways to validate story ideas for a novel:

1. Be head over heels

The validation process starts with loving your story ideas.

How do you expect your story ideas to become profitable and rise above the competition if you don’t even love them yourself?

So make sure the story idea is something you are passionate about. If you are not passionate at the beginning, it will be difficult to do the work required to turn your ideas into a published novel.

Date as many story ideas as you want, but only marry the ones you’re willing to settle down with and make a published book with.

2. Gauge marketing appeal

Look for similar stories in the traditional and self-publishing categories that have been successful to check if your story idea has marketing appeal. If you can find a community that has purchased novels with similar story ideas then that serves as validation.

The Kindlepreneur, Dave Chesson, offers Publisher Rocket which is the best tool I’ve used to gauge marketing appeal by searching keywords in published books and the competition all around. I am not an affiliate but I know Dave’s the real deal because years ago Dave helped my friend in a jam when he didn’t even know my friend and he barely knew me.

3. World-building research

Another validation approach is to research your potential setting, especially if it’s about a real-world time period or location that you are not familiar with. This will help you determine if the story idea is something you can actually bring to life.

Performing upfront research can also help you find the confidence to faithfully turn the ideas in your head into a profitable story that connects with readers.

4. Write a short story first

Among the other ways to validate story ideas for a novel is to develop them into a short story first.

Can you turn your story ideas into 2-3 pages before you turn them into 200-300 pages?

This short fiction break can help you decide if your story ideas have big-picture potential.

5. Get feedback

You can ask other people for their opinion when seeking validation.

If you know someone who likes your genre or simply enjoys reading fiction, ask them if they think your story ideas sound entertaining.

• Writing groups can provide valuable feedback on your story idea.

• You can submit the short story to a writing competition or magazine to determine whether your story is worth developing further.

• You can consult with a professional editor or writing coach to identify any weaknesses and make suggestions for ways to validate story ideas for a novel.

• Try to stay away from solely relying on friends and family due to personal bias.

6. Use social media

When seeking more ways to validate story ideas for a novel, you can use social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook to share story ideas with a wider audience.

Give people a description of your story ideas. You can get instant reactions and figure out whether people are interested in discovering more.

Of course, asking for feedback and using social media are similar ways to validate story ideas for a novel, but each serves its purpose.

7. Test emotional resonance

Finally, consider whether your story idea has the potential to be emotionally resonant.

• One way to test the emotional resonance of a story idea is to think about how it would make you feel if you were the protagonist. Would you be excited, scared, or both? Would you feel like you had something to lose? If your story idea evokes strong emotions in you, it’s a good sign that it will be resonant for readers as well.

• Will readers be able to connect with the characters and feel invested in their journey? If so, that’s a good indication that you have a strong story idea that is worth developing.

• Next, consider whether it is based on a universal human experience. If your story idea explores something that everyone can relate to, such as love, loss, or betrayal, it has a good chance of resonating with readers.

• Ultimately, whether or not a story idea is emotionally resonant is something that can only be determined by writing it out and seeing how readers react. But if you keep these considerations in mind, you can increase the chances that your story will have the emotional impact you desire.

Thanks for checking out the 7 beginner ways to validate story ideas for a novel.

Of course, you can’t just pull out a story calculator, enter a binary description and expect to be self-publishing in 14 days. But performing some due diligence, in the beginning, will help you succeed in the end.

In the end, if you feel confident and excited about the idea, then it is worth pursuing. Because you are the creative director who has the final say on whether your story ideas are good enough to be developed into a novel.

That’s it for this Saturday.

If found value in this post, would you consider sharing it? Maybe you’ll be helping someone create the story they’ve always wanted to write.

See ya next week!

— David