How To Collect Story Ideas

By on December 12, 2019
How To Collect Story Ideas - Writer's Life.org

As a writer, you may often find that you are overwhelmed with story ideas at times, and during others, you might discover that no matter how hard you try, you can't come up with anything good. You might also find that a lot of your ideas, which seemed initially so brilliant, sort of fade away to nothing a soon as you sit down to write. 

While not devastating, it can be frustrating, especially when going through a creative drought, and despite our desire to write, if the ideas aren't coming or they aren't any good, it can be challenging to keep on track.

So what can we do to help keep our creative muscles pumped and primed and our imaginations flowing and free? Try the following:

Reinvent well-known scenes

Take some of your favorite scenes from books and plays and TV shows and movies and re-write them entirely so that they unfold differently. Doing so can help you see many possibilities and outcomes which could spark your imagination once more.

Write a different ending

Similarly, with books and stories you've written in the past, or those of writers you admire, take the ending and re-write it in a completely different way. Again this will open your mind up to all the possibilities, twists and turns, and pasts and futures that are out there, and this should give you the motivation to explore new story ideas and paths for your work.

Scour your mail for ideas

What comes through your letterbox could be a great source of inspiration. All those flyers, notes, bits of junk mail, leaflets from politicians, and so on could be the key to your next great story. Just looking at the words and language used or the faces and characters you 'meet' through your mail could end up being a starting point for a story you never knew you had in you. 

Write a backstory for a long lost friend

Always think about the one that got away or that old friend who you sadly lost touch with? Well, why not daydream about what they might have been up to all this time and write them their very own backstory?

Keep your eyes and ears open

Story ideas are all around us, and it's by keeping our eyes and ears open that we can hope to capture them. Listen to conversations and carefully observe the world, and you'll soon find that when you are tuned in this way, you'll start to find sources of inspiration everywhere. 

Change someone's fortune

If you know the outcome of a story or someone that's down on their luck, or just are intrigued by that homeless guy who you pass by every morning, why not change their fortune? Re-writing their story will show you that in fiction, even the direst circumstances can turn around, and it will put you in a pretty positive mindset too. 

By using the above as a guide any time you are struggling with creating or organizing your story ideas, you can ensure you always have a good bank of them to keep you inspired and motivated to write. Doing so means you'll stay on track with your writing goals and keep the dreaded writer's block at arm's length too!

bethany cadman
Bethany Cadman - bethanycadman.co.uk

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