Content comes from ideas. Sometimes it’s a story someone else tells. Other times it’s an opinion someone expresses. Still other times ideas come from reading what others have already written and then forming an opinion about it. But is it a good idea?
Here are 8 ways to assess a story idea.
1) Where did your idea come from?
If it came from reporting, it’s probably a stronger idea than one that just popped into your head. Did your reporting suggest a trend? Did it turn up a fascinating person? Did something puzzle or intrigue you?
2) Is the idea original?
3) Does the idea surprise you?
If not, how will it surprise your readers? Will they invest the time to read a story if they already know pretty much everything by reading the headline?
4) Does the idea have movement to it?
What’s movement? It’s change, motion, direction – something that’s new, something people are developing interest in, starting to talk about, or think about, or plan for.
5) Is there a story there?
6)Is there tension?
Tension comes with conflict, a problem to be overcome, a mystery to be solved. Tension is reading the first paragraph of a story and not knowing what the last paragraph is going to say.
7) Is the story true?
8) Do YOU like the story?
You’re going to be spending a lot of time working on this piece. Shouldn’t it be something you love doing? How can you expect your editors and readers to enjoy a story if you haven’t?