When it comes to story ideas which mindset feels more true to you?
- All the stories have been told
- There are infinite story possibilities
There’s no right or wrong answer and no “best” approach. Because even if all the stories have been told, they haven’t been told by YOU. You have a unique voice and approach to any plot and character. Personally, I feel like there are infinite story possibilities.
Admittedly, I have an overactive imagination. The strangest events trigger elaborate daydreams and story ideas. Fortunately, I have gotten in the habit of bringing a pen and notebook with me wherever I go because as grand as my imagination is, my memory is the opposite. I forget everything unless it’s written down.
If you’re like most romance writers, you struggle to find story ideas when you need them. Consider the following places to find brilliant story ideas
1. Listen to the words of your favorite music. What type of music do you listen to? In many songs there is the root of dozens of stories. Heck, if you listen to country music the story is already started for you. Songs paint pictures, give us great one liners, and supply your imagination with amazing characters.
2. Read. Reading may not necessarily give you a story idea, though you’d be surprised how often exceptional books are inspired by other stories, what it can do is give your imagination a workout. Reading, even just a few pages a day, stimulates the creativity centers in your brain.
It’s like strength training for your imagination. I read every night in the bath. Sometimes I only read five pages, other nights I can read for hours. The point is that you don’t have to read a lot to get the benefits. Find a good book and read a few pages a day. Make it a habit.
3. Newspapers and Media Outlets – You’ve heard the saying, the truth is stranger than fiction, right? Open a newspaper or watch the evening news. Take notes. You’ll have more story ideas than you know what to do with.
4. Eavesdrop – Another option, and one that can be pretty fun, is to head to a coffee shop to work. Go with a project so you have something to do. As you sit there, listen. Some of the conversations you hear can be pretty interesting.
Just be careful not to be caught. You can also hear fun stories waiting in line at the supermarket or just about any place that people gather and talk. (Oh, and check out conversations on social media, people aren’t afraid to let their freak flag fly when they’re online.)
5. Story Starters – At least once a week I publish a story starter over at Romance Story Starters and that’s just one of thousands of options. You can buy books of story starters (mine are available at Amazon and other online bookstores. There are also fun plot generating tools online, like this one: http://www.plot-generator.org.uk/create.php?type=1
Whether you think all the stories have been told or your cup runneth over with ideas, sometimes we can all use a little help. Try one or all of these tools the next time your imagination needs a kick start.
Have fun and happy writing!