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5 Things That Can Lead to Amazing Story Ideas

Not every writer can spontaneously come up with story ideas. For many, the process can be tedious and frustrating, requiring an unprecedented moment of epiphany. To make this process less laborious, consider writing about anything and building on that idea as you proceed. In this article, we discuss six things you can start writing about today that can lead to your next big story idea. 

1. A memory, but from the viewpoints of others involved: One challenge about narrating an event from your perspective is the temptation to make yourself out to be the good guy who did nothing wrong yet suffers at the hands of others. You can avoid this pitfall and have fun with structure by narrating a memory, but from the perspective of others. Make it even more exciting by trying out multiple perspectives, including that of the person you believe was wrong.

2. An imaginary interview with an interesting character: Creating character questionnaires goes a long way in helping you visualize and develop your characters. To make this process very exciting, imagine your character is in an interview, and you are asking them questions about themselves. Turn it into an exercise of a narrative with a single scene that can take the form of a criminal investigation, a job or television interview, or a therapy session. 

3. A character who does the things you didn't have the courage to do: We all have that moment when we weren't courageous enough to do what we felt was right or what we wanted to do. Or are there things you have on your bucket list you haven't got the predisposition to achieve? One way to create an entertaining story is to make a character do the things you are yet to do. Or create a character who finds himself in your past situation and does the things you wished you had done.

4. Something you feared would happen came true: An excellent place to find conflict is in the things you fear most. What are the moments you dread the most? What do you wish would never happen to you? Having your characters go through some of those things is a great way to introduce conflict and create suspense in your narrative. Remember a moment in your life you thought things would fall apart, but they didn't? Now, imagine your character in such a situation, but instead, things do fall apart.

5. The story in a song, extended or re-invented: Most exceptional songwriters are also excellent storytellers. And the stories they narrate in songs hold potential you can explore and extend to create a fascinating narrative. Do you have that song lyrics that have you imagining its world and its people? Listen to it again and explore those lyrics: What characters do they present? And what conflict do these characters face? Here, you are not trying to rewrite the story in a song with prose. Instead, you take your understanding of the characters and plot and extend them to create a unique narrative.

6. Your life, if you had taken a different path: Your life story holds the potential for exciting narratives. And another way to draw story ideas from your life is by imagining what would have happened to you and who you would have become if you had made different life choices. What if you pursued another career path, lived in another city, married someone else, dropped out of college, or took that summer vacation you missed? These varying life trajectories can produce your next exciting story.

Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Frank Stephen