It All Starts With An Idea

What if only the rich had super powers?

That was the idea that sparked my entire first story. Everything I wrote in More Than Men is a follow up to that question.

No matter how grand or how epic, every story is sparked from a single idea.

Go find that one thing (or many things) that you just can’t get out of your head, and turn it into something awesome!

But I don’t HAVE any ideas yet!


Finding Your Idea

Coming Up With Story Ideas: 10 Methods You Can Use (video) - markcrilley

Where Do You Get Your Ideas (podcast) - Dirty Old Ladies

Writers often have tons of ideas bouncing around in their heads but here are a few quick tips if you’re struggling to come up with something:

  • Go out and explore. Walk the streets, go for a hike in nature, whatever suits you. The key thing is to get yourself out of your regular environment. Let new kinds of stimulus hit your brain and see what sticks.

  • Similarly, unplug yourself. Being constantly hooked up to your phone, social media, the TV, music etc… leaves very little time for your brain to just think without any distractions. Let yourself do nothing for a while without life getting in the way.

  • Alternatively, if you’re the kind of person who thrives on outside stimulus, find out what’s trending right now on social media. The internet is always buzzing with interesting stories, scientific discoveries and of course, drama.

  • Watch the news. Like social media, the news is a great source of random world events. This is especially useful if your story has political elements.

  • Read writing prompts. Prompts are a quick and easy way to get the creative juices flowing. There are tons of sites that will provide these prompts.

  • Read other stories. There’s nothing wrong with drawing inspiration from other works. Some, if not all, of the best stories out there are heavily influenced by the writings of others. Just remember to make things your own. Are you adding something new to the discussion, or just ripping another story off? Remember kids: plagiarism is a no no.

  • Write what you know. If you’re knowledgeable on a topic, odds are you’ll have a lot you can say about it. Use your story as a chance to share your wisdom with your readers in a cool, engaging way.

  • Write what you don’t know, but want to. Yes I know I just said to write what you know but if you’re curious about something, writing about it is often a great way to learn. It forces you to research a topic and having that curiosity will only help motivate you further.

  • Think about the things that you care about. What are your passions? What are the things that occupy your thoughts and keep you up at night? Everyone is interested in something, and by writing about something you care about will help make your stories more genuine and more fun to write.

  • Just start writing anything. You can’t always afford to sit around and wait for the right ideas to come to you, especially if you’re a full time artist. Many writers do warm up exercises like writing 500 unedited, unfiltered words. Don’t think, just write. It doesn’t even need to be about your story. It’s all about getting yourself in the creative mindset.

How Awesome Is My Idea?

Okay so you have your first idea for a story. A few good ways to tell if your idea is a good one are if:

  • It’s unique. By creating a story that people have never read before, you’ll be able to immediately hook them in. There are so many cookie cutter stories out there. If you diverge in just a single aspect, whether it be plot, characters or setting, your story is more likely to be noticed. Think Guardians of the Galaxy and the Deadpool movies. Still really mainstream films, but everyone loved them because they put a twist on their genre.

  • It gives you a whole bunch of follow up ideas. No matter how good an one idea is, if you can’t create an entire story around it it’s just not worth it. A lot of movies have this one moment in them that is clearly identifiable as the reason the film got made. Everything else in the narrative feels hollow and pointless. Your main ideas should spawn a whole bunch of other ideas for your story to feed off of. If you’re struggling to expand on your narrative but really like your idea, consider making it a short story instead.

  • It’s fun or interesting. This one speaks for itself. If an idea just sounds fun to you, odds are people will find it fun too. A magic system that’s directly powered by colours? Cool! Being able to stop time but only when you orgasm? (SFW link) Ridiculous and hilarious. A lot of action scenes fall into this category. Think about Legolas taking down the Oliphaunt or Arnold Schwarzenegger fighting the predator. It’s big, it’s dumb, it’s awesome.