This is an age-old question…
I can tell you that authors get their ideas almost everywhere. It can come from journaling, freewriting, writing prompts, dreams, nature, conversations, nightmares, people they love, people they’ve met, out of fresh air, or even the person they married to.
Another good way to get ideas is through your own life experiences. Especially if you’ve had many of them. If you’re a barman or bar lady, a hairdresser, or a nail technician, you will have an endless supply of stories. Or you could even ask your local barman’s or bar ladies, hairdresser, or nail techs for some of the stories they’ve heard in their line of work.
One of the things I did for NaNoWriMo this year is that I asked my family to give me ideas and from their ideas another one sparked. I have also written their exact ideas down because they were good too. As an example, I was just talking to my daughter about writing from life experiences or letting them influence your story ideas and I got two new ideas!
Now, quite often I will get an idea for a story and it’s not the genre I write but I don’t discard those ideas. I make a note of them in my writing journal and keep them just in case I get a bee in my bonnet and I feel like writing something different. You never know…it could happen.
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The most important thing is to keep a small book with you or commit to making a note on your phone notepad the minute you get a story idea or even half a story idea. This is because it is very easy to forget it in the daily rush of things. You will then want to kick yourself when you finally get a chance to write it down. I know this because it happened to me often. Not anymore! I now write it down.
NaNoWriMo had a really good booklet that they were giving out that also helped you come up with a storyline and flesh it out. They started the book by asking for three-story plots of books or movies that you like in your genre. They then tell you to take each one and change a few of the details to make it more your own.
Another way is to take two or three stories that you enjoy and mix them up together and, if need be, change some of the details. There are so many ways to find a story in you. You need to be open to it and allow it to flow.
I hope this has helped a little with your author journey! How do you find your story ideas? Let us know in the comments.
That’s it from me for now…
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