Story Ideas: What to Write. 7 Ways to Find the Inspiration to Tell a Story

So, you want to write, huh? You’ve just finished reading a long line of disappointing books that you came away with thinking: “I could do better”. Or maybe, you’ve came across some old stories you had written in a creative writing course. Or you have always been a natural born storyteller, and now you want to make it into a physical form. Regardless of the reason, you want to write. But what? And How?

 The How can come later. The Why is not important. Let´s try to get to the what.

Every story is sparked by an idea that has had time to grow and nurture with the help of talent and patience.

Do not be fooled into thinking that the idea you have will be the greatest one ever. “No need to twerk this one. It´s golden!!!” Naw, boo. Even Danielle Steel had to work out her inspirations to make a bestselling novel.

Also, don’t think that every story pitch you create is terrible. You know how many people thought Star Wars was a piece of fluff!!! I bet those losers from the 70’s are still kicking their own butts for passing up that gold mine.

However, we are getting ahead of ourselves. Again, let us start whit the what. What to write. How to get that spark. Below is a list of seven ideas to inspire that story to come out you.

picture collage1. A Picture 

They say a picture speaks a thousand words. You can make that thousand jump to 50,000 words with the right idea. Flip through your favorite magazine or google pictures online. Jot down some story that could have or will be.

optical illusion

2. Optical Illusions 

For the sci fi, paranormal or mysterious writer in you, these freaky images mess with the eyes as well as your head. Check out https://www.boredpanda.com/funny-optical-illusions/   or https://www.pinterest.es/patrichsymon/optical-illusion-street-art/  for pursuing the internet gallery of the weird. With hidden images slowly revealing themselves, fun and interesting stories can come to you at any moment.

 

3. Music 

It’s not just for singing and dancing to. Songs are their own short stories which are usually about other people’s similar experiences. This connects us to the voice singing their shared joys and pain.

music

You can’t tell me that when Angie Stone is singing “So Pissed Off”, you are not thinking about that no good scrub you use to date. Or when you are head bobbing to “Fake Love” by Drake, you know that frenemy or fake friend at work is in the back of your head.

Either way, music brings out your personal stories that you can use to create an alternative version. So, turn on that radio or Spotify.  Go thru your playlist and let the music take your imagination higher.

 

4. Fairy tales (or older stories) 

As a child, I was read to every night before I went to sleep. My imagination swirled around the princesses, care bears, strawberry shortcake and other mythical creatures. My dreams reflected their bubbly universes. A tradition that I now share with my own kids.

Take one of your favorites and turn the story around. Change the time or tell  it from another characters perspective. You could give it a prequel or another chapter after happily ever after. Or how about changing the country or switching roles around? Whatever it’s your story.

 

5. “What if” Scenarios  

Ladies we always ask our love interest these type of questions: What would you do if I was in a coma? If a mountain lion attacked me during a nature walk? If a millionaire asked me for one night? And on and on.

Turn those what ifs to your creative advantage. What if your body lays in a coma while your spirit roams around watching life pass you by? What would you see? Who would you visit? How would your spouse or lover or family react?

 

man on a bench6. People Watching 

The isolationist movement of only having personal contact with our phones has made this simple and entertaining activity obsolete. There are benches in parks and along sidewalks that were made for people to sit on and watch their community go by. Some people might have said a hello and started a conversation with a neighbor or citizen that had passed by. Imagine, eye contact!

Quiet intimate moments where no one pays attention to other people. You can learn a lot about characterization by watching people. How they show emotions through physical gestures and facial responses rather than words can be raw material to help shaping future characters. Observe the way they interact with other people or other objects other than a phone. It is rare but it does happen!

Then, after some time, you may see your story unfold in front of you.

7. Fan Fiction 

Fan fiction has been growing for the past decade. Writers take their favorite characters and give them extra stories and backgrounds not used in their original storylines. Think of a character that you wish had more thinks happening to him/her.

Rewrite them in other stories. Have them battle it out or solve a mystery with characters in other stories that you would enjoy reading about.  Look at Marvel and DC comics. They do it all the time. How else would we find out what happened when Batman fought Spiderman?

Try one, or all of these, creative writing methods. Jot down some notes in a small notebook. I always have my notepad next to my bed for those story moments. I also use a writing app (JotterPad) in my phone when I’m out in the world.

It may take a few days, a few months, or longer for a story to form. No matter, keep with it! No one is going to write the tale you want until you do. Don’t give up on your ideas!

Then later, start thinking up a problem(s) and a solution(s). How would it work? Soon that idea will blossom into a story. That is when we get to the how.

***Click here to read how to shape those ideas into a story.