10 Ways To Come Up With Story Ideas

The author Josip Novakovich states that imagination can be described as “Don’t kiss and do tell as if you did kiss”.  Whatever method you choose, exaggerate.  Change the details.  Make new characters.  And, most importantly have fun.  There’s nothing wrong with basing your story idea off something else, as long as you make it your own.

1.  Experience

Write what you know.  It can be productive to write about a situation you’ve been through.  Or, you can write about someone else’s experience.

2.  Movies

When I write, I think of every scene like it could appear on screen.  So, it’s only natural to get some story ideas from movies.

  • After watching Harriet the Spy as a kid, I created  short stories about a detective club solving mysteries around the neighborhood.

3.  TV Shows

If you like how a particular season went, you can base a story off of that.  If you liked a particular episode, scene, or character, you could use that as well.

4.  Novels

Can find inspiration from a chapter, entire book, a quote.

5.  Songs

You could use an entire song or just a lyric.

  • I love “Butterfly” by Mariah Carey.  My theme in my stories is a character keeps their distance thinking it is for the best, but the other person doesn’t agree.

6.  Setting

You could use your fascination with a place to create a plot around it.

  • I’m curious about North Pole, Alaska.  It would be fun to write a short story where a few friends take a vacation there.

7.  Plot

Use your fascination with what happens and how it happens.

  • Say you’re interested in writing a novel about a group of friends who are being killed one by one by a psycho killer.  You have the plot-now, it’d be interesting to think who the killer is, why is he killing them, in what ways, and how do they try to escape.

8.  Scene

You can be interested with a certain event.

  • It could be a scene where a woman goes on a blind date that was refreshing instead of dreadful.  Why did she go on the date?  Who set it up?  Why is she single in the first place?  What happens after the date?

9.  Dialogue

You could have a certain conversation stuck in your head.

  • You may know you want two characters arguing over something.  How do they know each other?  Do they resolve their conflict or stay mad at each other?  What led up to the argument, and what’s the aftermath?

10.  Character

You can construct a character and give examples of their personality throughout your story.

  • Say you’re interested in writing about a person who is a loner-not necessarily because he hates people.  He just prefers his own company.  Have him interact with a coworker.  Have him do a hobby, go on a date.  Is he nice, indifferent, or just tolerates people?

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