No Idea Track, No Story: Your Idea Flow Determines the Strength of Your Writing

All good narratives are idea driven—whether you’re writing a book, web copy, or essays.
Each paragraph or section supports an idea, and if you want readers to keep paying attention, you should organize all these ideas into a logical track. This we call an “Idea Track.”

Bringing Your Book Thesis and Ideas to the Surface

Your story should have a central thesis—your main idea. And every step in your idea track should support this thesis. We call these steps “key ideas,” “plot points,” or “subtheses” of your narrative or argument.

Your key ideas should be clear throughout your text. Depending on the kind of writing, you could use exposition (explaining the ideas) or narrative devices (think of interior monologue, scenes, and setting) to bring these main ideas to the surface.

Supporting Ideas Behind Your Scenes

If you use narrative devices, the supporting ideas are hidden behind your scenes. Your reader infers them from the action. These ideas might not be as obvious as your key ideas and plot points, but because readers are always analyzing situations, scenes can deepen their understanding of the main points.

When you use scenes, be sure you know the ideas behind them so you can add them to your idea track. If there’s no clear idea behind your scene, you should probably omit it.

Explaining It to Yourself

To find out whether your idea track is functional, try to explain the story to yourself in short sentences—one for each paragraph or section. It’s helpful to write them down and read them in order. Do your ideas follow logically toward your conclusion?
If so, your idea track works.

Fixing Problems in Your Idea Track

If you can’t extract sensible ideas from your paragraphs, it’s time to grab a coffee and ask, “What do I want to say?” Chances are, you have no idea. Keep sipping until you figure it out.
Or you might find there’s a hiccup in your idea track. A sentence stands out or feels misplaced or irrelevant. Maybe you need to swap ideas to find a better flow. Perhaps you need to remove a few ideas.
Keep at it until your idea track is logical, focused, and clear. Trust me; it’s worth the effort. With a solid idea track, your narrative will be indestructible.

A Nonfiction Editor Can Help You Construct Your Idea Track

Do you want help developing your idea track?

Book a free discovery call or send me a message below, and we’ll have a look at your concept together.

Enjoyed this blog?

Have a look at my other posts. And if you need help finishing your story, let’s chat.

No Idea Track, No Story: Your Idea Flow Determines the Strength of Your Writing

Niels Kwakernaak

Nonfiction Editor

Thanks for your interest in my experience and ideas. I write these blogs to help you overcome the hurdles of being a writer.

Would you like some one-on-one input? I’d love to help you develop your stories.

Connect with me via LinkedIn or my contactform.

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