I often hear writers ask each other: “Where do you get your story ideas?”

I used to consider this a curious question. You see, I’ve never had a problem coming up with story ideas. They often overwhelm me with their abundance. That said, I’m learning that many individuals do struggle with generating new story concepts.

Here, I suggest three steps to help clear the cobwebs from your story idea generator.


Step 1: Ignore What’s Trending

So often, creative artists get wrapped up in what’s trending in their genre or what’s popular. They try to fashion storylines or creative works to fit the current trends. This can lead to trite and overworked storylines. It also often results in flat stories because the artist is forcing an idea that’s not flowing genuinely from his or her creative sphere.

For this reason, tapping into what’s hot in the media or in my creative industry doesn’t work for me. I ignore what’s trending and instead focus on what’s interesting.


Step 2: Tap Into What Intrigues You

We’ve all heard that saying the truth is stranger than fiction. I’ve seen so often how true this really is. Accordingly, one strategy I use to develop storylines is to ask myself “what if” as I go about my day. As I encounter news stories, articles, videos, pictures and events, I allow those daily experiences to prompt my imagination.

For example, today, I saw a news snippet about a three-year-old boy who disappeared from his family farm. The headline read: Missing boy, 3, found wearing very ‘unique blanket’. It made me curious so I clicked on the link and watched the video.

Related image.

Unique “Blanket”

The boy was missing for approximately seven hours. During that time, it rained. As you can imagine, his parents were beside themselves. Eventually, someone noticed the family dog was also missing. Sure enough, when they found the boy a mile away from home, he was safe and warm under his “doggie” blanket.

My first thought upon finishing this story was: Awwww! My second thought was: I think there’s a story here.

Do you?


Step 3: Imagine The Possibilities

Simply ask yourself: “What if…?” Give yourself permission to imagine the possibilities.

“Imagine the possibilities of what?” you may ask. Imagine the possibilities of any- and everything.

Imagine the “unique blanket” story as the opening of a novel:

  • Who’s the boy?
  • Who are his parents?
  • Why did he wander off?
  • Did he follow the dog or did the dog follow him?
  • What happened during their one-mile journey?

The possibilities are endless. What immediately comes to your mind?

Think of ideas for how to expand this news snippet into a short story or novel idea. Or, I’d love to hear some ways you generate and develop your story ideas. Please share your thoughts on the subject with me via Facebook or Twitter (@AuthorRayne).

As always, thanks for stopping by.


Copyright © 2014 Lisa Rayne. All Rights Reserved.

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