Hi. My name is Angry (Travis if you don’t like using internet nicknames), and I’m going to start a new discussion called “Let’s Talk About…” and each one will talk about something different that has to do with you, writing, editing, publishing, and possibly even reading.
Today, Let’s Talk About…Story Ideas
Right. So. You want to write a story/book, but you think your ideas are weak, or you cannot come up with good plot. Maybe you just need a little push to get going in one direction, and then as you get writing, it’s like a snowball roll down a mountain.
I’m going to talk about where ideas come from, and how you can start coming up with them on your own. The first thing you are going to need to succeed at this is a good imagination. You don’t necessarily need to be Calvin from the best comic strip ever, “Calvin & Hobbes”, but if you have that kind if imagination (I’m one of those weird kids that grew up into a weird old man), you are already a writer…you just need to pick up a pen or a keyboard and get writing.
Most people are not like this, and if they are, they are already writing and have no need of advice. Everyone else, maybe these will give you some ideas, or help you learn to strengthen your imagination. Like physical exercise, writing, playing a video game over and over, if you practice something enough, you will get better, stronger, maybe even faster at it.
Your boring, mundane, everyday life is the greatest source of your ideas.
You may not think so, but the truth is, the little things in life are what make for great stories. The greater your imagination, the greater the story. Start with small things.
Example: have you ever been sitting around, watching a show, or maybe driving along, whatever you are doing, and thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool if…?” I have these all the time.
Wouldn’t it be cool if…
The optometrist was giving you an eye exam and found some kind of…microchip at the back of your eye?
You were seeing a psychiatrist for something…say depression or ADHD, and during the course of the visit, the doctor accidentally stumbled on some crazy secret or scheme or formula that had been purposely buried in your memories?
You found one of the toys in a cereal box, and instead of being some cheap plastic junk item, it was some crazy piece of technology or even an alien artifact that had weird effects or powers?
You opened the door of your house to leave and instead of the outside, it was a different planet/dimension/universe/timeline?
You were driving home from work or wherever, and the radio suddenly starting blaring the emergency signal because a massive disaster was happening or starting to happen?
Once you have the basic idea, then you just have to apply your imagination to build on it. Let’s take the ‘radio emergency signal’ one, because I love writing about apoc/disaster/invasion stuff.