It All Starts With An Idea

What if only the rich had super powers?

That was the idea that sparked the entirety of More Than Men, my first book. Everything in that book is a follow up to that question.

No matter how grand or how epic, most stories are sparked from a single idea.

Go find that one concept (or many concepts merged into one) 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, dive deep into the horrors of social media. The internet is always buzzing with interesting stories, cool art to get inspiration from, scientific discoveries, and of course, drama. Just don’t stay in there too long, lest the abyss stare back at you.

  • Read writing prompts. Like many things on the internet, random writing prompts don’t always have the best ideas, but they can be a quick and easy way to get the creative juices flowing if you’re in a slump. 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 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 in depth, and having that curiosity will only help motivate you further.

  • Think about the things that you care about. What are your passions, the things you just can’t shut up about? Writing about your interests will help make your stories feel genuine, and your enthusiasm will often translate to a more exciting read for others. And of course they’ll be more fun for you to write about as well!

  • 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 on a deadline. Many writers do warm up exercises like writing 500 unedited, unfiltered words. It doesn’t even need to be about your story. Don’t think, just write. Embrace the suckiness that will inevitably flow from you! It’s not about writing perfection, 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 Into The Spiderverse, or the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. They’re still totally 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.