Earlier this year, I was asked to speak to the high school fiction writing class. I spoke while the class looked at me through half-closed eyes, their mouths slack. Gotta love those high school students. They perked up a bit when my computer screamed. It does that on occasion.
Anyway, one of the things I talked about was how to come up with story ideas. I came up with ten:
1. The What-If Game – What if the football hero injured his leg… and it hurt him so much he tried to cut it off? What if people had three ears? What if Germany had won World War II?
2. Think of a title first. I did this with my current novel, The Grave Winner. It just jumped into my head. Then I thought: why would anyone win a grave? Eventually the story came to me. This same thing happened again, and now I have another idea for a novel floating around in my brain based on just a title.
3. Think of a catchy first line. In my first novel, Pause, the first line is “Are you ready to faint today?”
4. Make your dreams a reality on paper. It worked for Stephenie Meyer with Twilight. It worked for me too. The idea for Pause came from a chase dream and my increasing age.
5. See it – watch the story play out in your head like a movie.
6. Hear it – listen to music, close your eyes, then write down what you see in your head.
7. Read the newspaper – especially the Weird News part.
8. Real life – enough said.
9. Start with an interesting character.
10. Start with an interesting place.
Where do your story ideas come from?