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Catching the Book Idea (Before It’s Too Late)

Novel Incubator writer Jamie Yieh describes how he found an idea for a novel, but then was worried he may have lost it.

By Jamie Yieh

September 22, 2022

In 2015, I got a spark of an idea for a novel based on a strange, chance encounter with some family members.

In 2019, I signed up for a generative writing class at Project Write Now. I began drafting scenes in class. But then, life got busy. I put my idea on the shelf.

In March 2021, my friend Craig who knew about my idea and that my writing had stalled presented me with Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, along with this note:  “I’m sure Elizabeth will cover whatever is keeping you from finishing.” Indeed, she did. And, she explained how an idea can move on from you, and possibly go to someone else. Clearly, I needed to write this book!

In January 2022, I joined book inc’s Novel Incubator. This yearlong program provided tools to help me develop my idea. Following guides such as the 90-Day Novel and Save The Cat, I learned to outline my idea and flesh out the scenes. But most importantly, the Novel Incubator gave me a network of like-minded writers who support me and each other. We’re in it together, turning our ideas into books.

In March 2022, I had a scare. While I was perusing the bookstore, I saw a novel with a similar topic to mine. Had my idea moved on to someone else like Elizabeth Gilbert said it might? Thankfully, upon reading the book, I discovered it was not my idea.

In August 2022, I finished the first draft of my novel. My idea was officially a book. I’m grateful to Craig and Elizabeth Gilbert for nudging me to complete it and for book inc for giving me the community support to get it done. The idea stuck with me and the story is now on paper.

Jamie Yieh is a writer living in Freehold, NJ. He is currently seeking publication for LEAF, his novel about family drama.