Getting story ideas
Getting story ideas can sometimes be difficult.
Where do your story ideas come from? Harlan Ellison often quips, “Schenectady.”
I wanted to use this image for a blog post about getting story ideas because it is perhaps the oddest thing. Because I really did see this dirty plate in the sink a few years ago. And I thought: there’s a story there.
Inspiration Comes in Many Forms
So for every dirty plate, there are a thousand other possible sources of inspiration. And I’ve been posting a lot of these sources. These are means of how I inspire myself but they are far from being all-inclusive. And you don’t have to find any of them inspiring if you don’t want to. Also, your methodology will, undoubtedly, differ from my own.
However, here are some things which have worked well for me.
- Look at multiples. That is, if you see one thing that is of interest, pair it with something unexpected. Or maybe add another thing to it. As a result of doing this, I came up with the phrase, “Smart kangaroos“. And this phrase helped me to write a ton of fan fiction.
- Flip the script. So what I mean is, consider the opposite of something you like. Or even consider something you dislike, and what it would take to make you like it.
- Filter your outside stimuli. That is, look at the outside world like a character or a reader would. What do you notice? What do you ignore?
- Let ideas settle and percolate.
- Use brainstorming as a tactic. This means not filtering your ideas. The concept behind brainstorming is to throw a ton of jello against a wall and hope some of it sticks (or something like that; I’m probably mixing metaphors here). The short answer is: don’t self-censor.
- Write down your dreams.
- Write down your ideas, no matter what they are. They might be a turn of phrase, a scene, a name, a face, anything.
If all else fails, you can look at writing prompts and those are perfectly fine. But to make your own kinds of prompts, consider what you would be doing if you had to be the one coming up with the prompts.