7 Quick Ways to Find Brilliant Ideas for Stories

Ideas for stories can leap out at you like an onslaught of flying monkeys and it’s all you can do to catch just one and run with it. Those are the good days. Today, we’re talking about those other days when the monkeys have all flown off and it seems like you’ll never have another idea for a story as long as you live. It’s not writer’s block, it’s creative block and it can feel like death for a writer.
The good news is that your next story ideas are really just sitting there waiting to be found. You just need to do a little looking. You want to write a new story and you want an idea fast, so here are seven of the quickest ways to find new ideas for stories. I’ve used all of them at least once.

 

ideas for stories

Science News Websites

Take a quick scan through the headlines on a website like Science Daily. Science news is a great source of new ideas because science is all about innovation and discovery. This is a particularly useful tactic for science fiction writers, but any writer will likely find a few sparks.

Random Wikipedia Pages

Head to the Wikipedia homepage and click Random Article. There’s your main character. Hit it again, there’s your setting. Hit it again, there’s your overall premise. This can at first function like a basic writing exercise, though the topics you end up reading might end up serving as stories in their own right.

Trivia

Look to a trivia site like Today I Found Out. Scan through the homepage and find the headline that most captures your imagination- preferably something you know little about. Before clicking through to the article, jot down a few ideas that could work in a fiction piece. Then click through to read the facts and combine these with your imagined ideas.

Combine Multiple Stories

Take a well-known old fashioned story, like a fairy tale or other form of folk tale and mix it together with a story from modern popular culture. Cinderella meets CSI, for example.

Your Local News

Look for story ideas close to home from what’s happening in your neighbourhood. You’ll likely be already familiar with the types of characters that will populate this kind of story – it’s you, your family and your neighbours. If you prefer writing about something a bit more exotic, make it a speculative fiction story or use your local news story as the starting point for an adventure of some kind.

Facebook

Find a Facebook profile of someone you don’t know and use it as a character dossier. Find another profile of someone who seems completely different. Put these characters in a tense situation and see what happens. A bit stalkerish? That’s the price we pay for creating online profiles when there’s writers about.

Use a Writing Prompt

free book of writing prompts

This one is a given. Take a writing prompt and start writing.I’ve put together Bright Ideas! Write Ideas! a free download with 101 writing prompts to get you started.

These are just seven ways to find ideas for short stories and how many thousands of possible story ideas did we just uncover? You just need one. Now go write it.

Need some help in getting those story ideas into a workable story? Check out this post on How to Write A Short Story in Ten Steps.

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Kate Krake
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Kate Krake

Kate Krake writes speculative fiction and non-fiction. She is the author of the urban fantasy series Guessing Tales. Kate blogs about popular culture, health, wellness and creative writing. She lives in Brisbane, Australia with her husband, daughter and two beagles. Find out more on www.katekrake.com.
Kate Krake
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