I is for Island (Skim to the underlined genre or style that best suits you.)
Ideas can’t be copyrighted, so these ideas are free for any of you to use.
It’s easy to imagine how Romance could develop on an island–just the two of you under the stars, surrounded by the song of birds and the smell of exotic blossoms. Consider that your hero and heroine, who were just about to fall in love, wound up on this island which could have been a perfect retreat for romance if not for the fact that his ex-wife is there, and so is her ex-husband. You can make this a wonderful romantic comedy. Or a romantic nightmare. Either way, keep in mind that if you’re going to follow the romance genre, you must close with a sense of happily ever after, so I suggest the new couple be sharing the same coconut in the end.
What a place to bring Mystery buffs to solve a murder. Maybe it’s not a very progressive place, either, so no Internet or cell phones to speed up the investigation. What was the victim, Uncle Ralph, doing on this island anyway? I like the victim being an uncle, a relative of the sleuth –it has to be somebody who’d matter to the sleuth. So, was this a long planned vacation gone wrong? Or does it have to do with that merger that would be voted on by the board next week? Or what about that woman he was talking to in the hotel lobby just before leaving for this vacation? He didn’t want to talk about her, offered no explanation … Yet they seemed to know each other well. Uncle Ralph wasn’t smiling when he looked at the woman, but she offered one heck of a grin in return. Next, maybe your sleuth is rummaging through Uncle Ralph’s apartment, looking for clues. He finds some very interesting bank statements. Now let your imagination feed you the rest.
Literary. Even the ‘idea’ of islands mimics solitude, loneliness, and desperation. Make these attributes–loneliness, solitude, and desperation–so real that they appear almost human, the only humans around. This small world is confined within the circular romp around the continuous shoreline of this haunted place. Is there a way to get away from the deadly three? With promises of torture, should the main character attempt to leave? This now irrational yet rational soul might have to figure out how to survive in the confines of his own mind; but once he does, will he be free?
All sorts of adventure could happen on an island, and that’s a sure way to win an audience of Children. You might not want to make the island too scary–no goblins or ghosts–if your readers are quite young, but if you’re thinking of a novel for middle grade, you can have pretty tense moments playing around with the darkness and strange inhabitants of this island. If you’re going for the young adult market, you don’t have much for restrictions these days. Just give your characters a story-worthy goal and a problem to solve, so that your entire story isn’t only about adventure and fun. Let the island speak to you. Let it matter. What situation would be more tense on an island than anyplace else? Your crush ignoring you because there’s another hot girl there, yet no other guys? A cyber stalker paying a personal in-person visit? A no-return policy that keeps all visitors there forever?
Choose an idea and get started writing! Or, share your own idea in one of these genres or in one I didn’t mention, such as sci-fi or fantasy. Thanks!