Hi everyone, I hope you’re all well! Today I’m going to talk about how you can generate ideas for a story!
As a writer, you need to be having a lot of ideas practically all of the time – when you’re eating, sleeping, reading – but sometimes, every now and then, the well runs dry. Sometimes, your muse gets distracted by the latest episode of their favourite TV show and leaves you on your own. So what are you supposed to do then?
When you’re out of ideas or you feel that your ideas are a little bit stale, the only thing you can do is to have some more. Easy, right? Well, maybe.
5 Tips for Generating Story Ideas
Freewriting is when you grab a pen and paper (or technological equivalent) and just write, without any structure or framework. Some people set a time limit but it isn’t really necessary. The aim is to write whatever comes to mind without stopping to check over your work until the session has ended.
2 Mind Map
A mind map is a visual representation of interconnecting thoughts and ideas. You can start with a single idea, for example, a cat climbs up a tree and can’t get down. Next, you would draw a line from this idea to every other idea that occurs to you about how to get the cat out of the tree. Then you might draw a line from each of those to every new idea about what it would take to make that happen and so on. Before you know it, you’ll have ended up with a sheet of paper filled with ideas all linking to one another.
You can see an example of a mind map here.
3 Ask ‘What If?’
Another great way of jump-starting your imagination is to take your favourite book or story and give it an alternate ending. Choose a new road for the protagonist to take, or better yet, tell the story from the antagonist’s perspective. For example, what if the three bears didn’t allow Goldilocks to get away in the end? What if they hunted her down and held her accountable for her breaking and entering?
A tale can be spun in myriad directions, and utilising this exercise can help spawn all kinds of ideas.
4 People Watch
Other people can be an invaluable resource to a writer. You may become inspired, for instance, if you happen to be sitting in a bar or a cafe when an interesting looking character walks in. They might have a distinctive look or sound that stirs your imagination. You might try to imagine their backstory and how they might interact with the other people around them. Perhaps there is another person sitting nearby who has also caught your eye. You could try to imagine how the two people might get on (or not), or even what their darkest secrets might be. If you’re a writer and you find yourself out and about a lot, it can be beneficial to carry a small notepad with you for instances such as this. A note of caution here would be to not be a full-on stalker and glare at a person who’s quietly trying to enjoy their coffee while you take notes (I can promise you, they won’t appreciate it). Instead, try to be surreptitious about it so as not to offend anyone.
5 Use a Writing Prompt
A tried and true way of stirring the creative juices is to search for a prompt generator online (there are many to be found at the end of a Google search). You just write about whatever the prompt relates to and you could even incorporate a prompt into a freewriting session. Similarly, you could also look at the headlines in a newspaper (or news website or app) and without reading the related story you could write your own. There are many types of prompt generators online from character generators to story title generators. I recommend trying them to see what you can come up with. They’re really handy when you feel your idea well has run dry.
As always, thank you for reading my words, it really does mean the world! And once again, I have received some lovely messages from some of you on my social media so, to those people, I’d like to say an extra big THANK YOU 😊
Until next time,
© 2022 GLT