Ideas For Stories

After a school visit yesterday, I got an email from a sixth-grader who asked, "I want to write a story, but I don't know what to write about. Do you have any ideas for me?" I answered her off the top of my head, but I thought you might be interested in my response out here on the fire escape:
As for ideas, here's something I do. I invent a character. Then I make something interesting happen to that character. The story flows from there.

So, say your main character is a little old lady. And the interesting thing that happens is that a stray dog finds his way into her house and refuses to leave. Okay, so how does that change the old lady? Does she like him? Does she feed him?

That's a feeble example; I'm sure you can come up with something much better. So, invent a character that you either love or hate or feel sorry for or are irritated by. Get that person straight in your imagination. Then make something happen in that person's life, and write the story from there.
It's true. My stories usually start with a character coming to life in my mind. How about yours?


Anonymous said…
My stories usually occur from a new idea sparking into my imagination. How does this occur to me, you may ask? Well, here's my ideas for getting good plots:
1. Just stare at ordinary objects. Think of certain attributes that those objects could possess that could be life changing.
2. Next time you're in a city, pretend you are in the shoes of a random person bustling down the street. Could this mysterious person be a criminal? A magicion? A ghost? A creature lurking in the dark shadows of a paranormal world?
3. Pictures can be very inspiring- look up something such as "interesting pictures" or "photography" on Google. Look at the most peculiar of pictures, and even they could spark ideas.
4. Recount personal experiences. Nothing could be more original and/or interesting than a narrative related to the author in some way!
5. Never put down an idea. Even if you are assured that your idea is pathetic, one slight change could brew the next best-selling narrative. Store all your ideas in a Microsoft Word Document so you don't forget them.
Anonymous said…
6. Read! Whenever you approach an unfamiliar word, strengthen your vocabulary by searching it up in the dictionary. Just have the dictionary by your side the whole time!
7. Allow twists to your stories. Add an unexpected change in the novel to surprise the reader.
8. Never be afraid to write out of your comfort zone. You may have never written a horror story before; but don't worry, after several ideas, you could become exceptional!
9. Regularly input similes etc. in your story as it adds interest.
10. Put in visual description, so the reader has a vivid idea of the scenery.
11. Don't make it too unrealistic. It's hard to believe it, but not EVERYONE is a great fan of magic. Personally, I am, but it's not everyone's cup of tea, so keep it relevant in some way to real life...
12. Don't plagiarise the work of others, predominantly the copyrighted work. You wouldn't like it yourself if someone browsed through some of your files on your computer to discover ideas. Besides, you never know if that work could have been copied as well! You can copy some aspects of a story if it is such a vast intention of yours, but remember to change the settings, character and plot significantly to hide this.
13. Don't wreck your social life because of the time you spend writing. Ideas can produce when socialising with friends on a daily basis.
14. Remember to have breaks and to only do your writing because you want to, not because you have to.