Joanna White, Author of "Shifter," Discusses How She Develops Her Writing Ideas

In today’s word, many people want cheap books with excellent writing. Standards are high, and everyone wants something new to entertain them. Since no one wants a cliché, as a writer you have to be really creative to keep your readers on their toes.

How do you do that?

Well, ideas don’t come from nowhere. Every idea in any book that’s ever been written has come from something at some point. So if you like an idea but it’s really cliché or overused, how do you make it different?

First off, make it your own!

I’ll use the example from my book Shifter, which has shapeshifters. It’s been used many times; it’s an extremely popular genre for readers, especially werewolf romances. Really overused in my opinion. So how do you change this idea and make it your own?

Add something else you love into it. For me, it’s dragons, so I did shapeshifting dragons, rather than werewolves. It’s been used a few times but not to the point of overuse like werewolves. Maybe you love history, so you could add shapeshifters into a specific time period of history you’re really passionate about. Or maybe you love fashion—try to imagine shapeshifters in that industry. Whatever you love outside of writing, make it apart of your story to add a layer of depth to it that no one else has done!

Second, combine ideas.

Now this one may not work for everyone but hear me out. Say you love an idea—again, using an example from my book Shifter—a girl doesn’t know about the existence of shapeshifters but falls in love with one anyway. How would you take that idea and make it different? Other than adding your own spice to it—aka, he’s a dragon shapeshifter, instead of the typical werewolf—you can combine it with lots of other ideas you like.

In this example, we can take the idea that she doesn’t know about shapeshifters, but they have influenced her life before. There is also the “hard to accept factor” so I can combine that with the idea that she ends up being okay with it. Maybe you like cowboys and want to incorporate that, or you like the idea of a hostage situation, or a forbidden love. When you start combining ideas, eventually, the original idea becomes less of what it started off and the more complicated it gets, the more it becomes original to you. That’s why ideas in any book don’t seem like they’re taken from other things (well, sometimes). It’s because they’ve been combined with new ideas and the writer’s own original twist to create something brand new.

So the next time you have a cliché idea that you really like, do not count yourself or your book out yet. It may just take some creative thinking and a lot of idea tweaking to make it so much better. 

About Johanna’s book, Shifter:

Beroan is a shapeshifter, part of the dragon clan. His clan’s Alpha, Sirath, wants to watch the world burn.

For ten long years Sirath has attacked villages, killing thousands of humans and burning towns to the ground. Beroan has had enough, but his resistance will only end in suffering.

Nsi is a human living in a small village with her grandmother and cousin. Her ignorance about the existence of shifters won’t protect her for long. Her family was killed in a dragon attack when she was younger, and now dragons have come again. Now she will stop at nothing until the dragon shifters are stopped, to save humans from suffering the same fate as her family.

Together, Nsi and Beroan will risk everything to save humanity from Sirath. 

Johanna’s Books:

Hunter (Valiant Book 1)

Shifter (Valiant Book 2)

Joanna’s Social Media:




Joanna White earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing for Entertainment at Full Sail University. The Valiant series is her first published work, which first started off on Wattpad. She lives in Missouri with her husband, where she continues to work on more books. Writing has been a passion since she was ten, when she wrote her first book. Ever since then, writing has become her life outside of her family, God, and being a nerd.

Thank you, Joanna, for being a guest writer for Lunarian Press!