Ten Places to Find Story Ideas

by Laura Michelle Thomas


Stories come from two places: you and the world, inside yourself and outside yourself. So, finding a story idea is easier than you think, if you pay attention. That’s what creative people do, they pay attention.

Artists observe the word, think about the world, feel it with their five senses and their hearts. Then they pull apart and rearrange what they see and spit it out in a new fresh way for an audience to engage with. Artists can turn any idea, any old thought, into a masterpiece.

Story ideas from INSIDE yourself

1) Dreams. Sleep with a notepad under your pillow so that if you wake up with a dream you can write it down. When you get up, sit down and start writing about the dream. As with all of these prompts, you have to get the thought out of your head and onto paper so that you can do something with it.

2) Memories. Flip through your photos. Find one that speaks to you and start writing.

3) Experiences. If you have experienced something that made you cry, write about it. Share you story.

4) Skills. What are you best at? Soccer? Piano? Gaming? Math? Schmoozing? Create a character and make him or her an expert too.

5) Hobbies. What do you like to do? If you love skiing, start a story on a chair lift. If you love playing Wii, start a story in the living room with two characters playing Wii.

Story ideas from OUTSIDE yourself

1) Google. Do a random Google search and find an interesting page. Use it to create a character, setting or plot.

2) Magazine Cover. Pick up a magazine. Use the person on the cover as your main character. What problems could he or she be having?

3) Family. Fictionalize the kooky stuff that happens in your everyday family life. Or, ask a grandparent to tell you a tale from his or her own life.

4) Friends. Sit around with your friends and come up with story ideas.  The crazier the better.

5) Nature. Go outside. Sit. Observe. Write about anything that moves you.

The idea for a story isn’t important. How well you tell the story, how artfully you craft it, is what matters. You can take any tired old subject and turn it into an outstanding piece of art. After all, the human experience is pretty much the same for all of us. There are only so many things to write about, so whatever topic you choose, remember that your job as a creative writer is to get creative with the telling.



7 comments on “Ten Places to Find Story Ideas

  1. Amna Gillani

    I can’t believe I didn’t see this article before!
    The tips are really helpful. I am going to bookmark this for future reference as well.

  2. Maya

    These are great ideas

  3. Hailey

    I’ve actually used two of these ideas. I wrote a shorty short based on a dream, and one of my friends had a haircut so unusual, I had to give it to one of my characters. I’ve also given fantasy characters names by combining symbols on the Periodic Table of the Elements. That is fun.

  4. Emily

    I find that music inspires too! Thanks for the ideas.

  5. Tessa

    Thank you soo much!!!

  6. Paige

    Thank you so much for creating this page! It is tremendously useful.

  7. Journey

    Nature really helps with writing, especially with poetry. Its like taking a photo, but with words.

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