Posts Tagged Ideas
I’m on a mission to gather 30 short story ideas before the end of October. I will then write one 1700-word story per day through the 30 days of November, harnessing the global enthusiasm for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) to keep me going. Purists may argue that writing short stories rather than novels for NaNoWriMo is cheating but for me, as long as I’m in the groove and aiming for 50,000 words, it doesn’t matter – it’s not a competition and no one is giving out prizes.
How do I come up with 30 short story ideas?
So far, I’ve amassed 14 and used a variety of means. There were a few ideas floating in my head anyway, a friend sent me a page of prompts used by her poetry society, I took inspiration from all the recent royal coverage, and I discovered this online short story generator. Fill in the form to customise the story or take the option to fill the form with random things, then let the generator do its stuff.
Warning: the story will be nonsense. However, the first time I used it the opening sentence triggered an idea for me and the second time around it produced an intriguing title.
Might be worth a try if you’ve got a blank piece of paper and an empty mind?
For anybody not familiar with NaNoWriMo, the 30 stories I write will be very rough drafts, time doesn’t permit anything else. From December onwards they will need to be worked upon, crafted to the right length to suit the prospective market and then submitted gradually next year.
Whatever you choose to write in November, it only generates a starting point to be worked on over future months. It is never an endpoint in itself.
The latest was a book I found in Waterstones (and it’s also available on Amazon).
712 More Things to Write About is full of ideas to help when that well of inspiration is empty. It’s put together by the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto and is in a large paperback journal format with room to write beneath each prompt. There are things like, ‘You look out the window and discover a body floating face down in your pool’ and ‘Write a haiku about your underwear’. The prompts in this book will keep any writer going well past the end of 2017. And prompts are often just what I need!
So, I bought the book and gave it to my husband to wrap up for me. Roll on Christmas when I can get it back in my greedy mitts again!
Here’s a challenge that my sister-in-law set me at Christmas – I failed miserably but I’m sure you can do better.
Can you create a 5-word sentence where each of the 5 words is exactly the same?
Here’s a clue – the word has 3 different meanings within the sentence, it is used as a verb, a noun and a proper noun. The word is spelt the same each time it is used.
I’ll post the answer on Wednesday (if you use the box on the right to subscribe to this blog via email, the answer will automatically arrive in your inbox as soon as it’s posted – it’s free and you can unsubscribe at any time).
In the meantime if you’re running out of inspiration for your writing, take a look at Sally Quilford’s blog. She’s currently running a challenge to write 100,000 words in 100 days – not for the faint-hearted and definitely not for me! But to help those who are up to the challenge she is posting a selection of writing prompts each day. Many of them are quite inspiring and could easily trigger a short story or a poem. Why not nip over there, choose a prompt and get writing!
That must be the question most often asked of writers and the most difficult to answer. We all know that story and character ideas are all around in us our daily life – overheard conversations, a couple arguing in the street or 2 teenagers in hoodies following an old lady.
But ideas tend to be like buses – 3 come along in a row or, no matter how long you wait, not one puts in an appearance.
If you’re suffering an ideas drought here are a few ‘ideas factories’ to kick-start your imagination:
- Sally & Cally’s Short Story Ideas Generator – this will give you a random character, setting and conflict/situation
- The Brainstormer – this is a little bit like an on-line roulette wheel. Click on the ‘Random’ button to spin the wheel and generate a conflict, adjective and person/place/thing.
- The Writers’ Idea Store in Writers’ Forum magazine – this monthly feature by Paula Williams discusses where to find ideas and also incorporates a Fiction Square. The square includes 6 each of characters, conflicts, weather, setting and objects. Roll a dice once for each of these categories in order to determine which should be in your next story.
- The Writer’s Block – this is a block-shaped book that contains ideas and story prompts on every page. It’s well worth dipping into if you’re scratching your head for something to write about.
- Sign up for the free e-newsletter produced by www.ideasforwriters.co.uk – you will receive story prompts and ideas for historical anniversaries to write about.
- Creative Writing Prompts has 346 prompts to get your pen moving.
There is no copyright on ideas. This means that it’s acceptable to re-write a well-known story such as a fairy-tale or legend. Try writing The Frog Prince from the point of view of the frog rather than the princess or modernise Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs by giving the heroine a job as a housekeeper to a group of brothers living in a large house inherited from their parents.
So now you’ve no excuse for not writing. Don’t wait for inspiration to strike – use the suggestions above to create your own!
Remember – Writers Write! (they don’t just sit around and think about it).