Ever find yourself staring at a blank screen or piece of paper and wondering where to start? I do and I’m an author.
Here are where some of my best story ideas come from:
- Things that have really happened to me or to people I know;
- Memories of people, events or places;
- People I see on trains and buses;
- Conversations I overhear;
- Newspaper articles;
- Other books;
- A picture in a magazine;
- A place I have been to;
- A smell, sound or feeling;
- A problem or dilemma being faced by someone I know;
- Playing with two words that don’t quite go together eg Flower attack;
- Using the last line of a story I have written as the first line in a new piece of writing;
- Thinking of a secret that someone might want to keep and what would happen if it was discovered
- Imagining getting a letter or email from someone I have never met
If I’m still stuck, I think of a character/name and match them with an action to try and get me started.
- Ashley fell
- Ashley twisted
- Ashley tumbled…
- Ashley rocketed…
- Ashley flew…
- Ashley flopped…
- Ashley leapt…
- Ashley shook…
- Ashley dropped…
- Ashley shivered…
- Ashley trembled…
- Ashley bobbed…
- Ashley soared…
- Ashley is…
Then I ask myself why this action happened to Ashley, where this action happened, when and how?
Every story needs a catalyst – an action that starts the story on its course. At the start of your story, something will happen that changes things for the main character.
Every story needs a problem for your character. There is something they want and someone or something is stopping them from getting it. That’s what your story is about.
As a writer, you need to decide how your main character is going to solve their problem – and that’s where you will finish your story.
After I’ve finished writing my story, I edit it to make sure it is the best it can be. I ask myself these questions:
- Have I hooked the reader in from the start?
- Does the beginning of my story give the reader some idea of what it’s about?
- Does my story say what I wanted it to?
- Will the meaning be clear to others?
- Is there enough happening in my story to keep the reader interested?
- Will readers like my main character and care what happens to them?
- Are my characters believable?
- Have I used similes and metaphors and interesting language?
- Have I used the strongest, most effective words possible?
- Is my ending strong enough to satisfy the reader?
- Have I checked to make sure that all my spelling and grammar is correct?
Give your creativity free reign and see how a small idea can become a really big story.
If you have any other tips about where story ideas can come from, I’d love to hear them. Feel free to leave them in the comments section of this post.