How to Come Up With Great Story Ideas When You Don’t Know What To Write

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Coming up with story ideas can be a challenge. Even novice writers struggle with the occasional writer's block that leaves them staring at a screen wondering what to write. 

Taking a break, going for a walk, or changing environments can sometimes help you find writing inspo. Other times, coming up with great story ideas takes a little bit more time. 

To help fuel your writing inspiration and get you started with a great story idea, take a look at the 5 story-generating tips below. After following these suggestions, you’ll be writing your own great story in no time at all! 

Use writing prompts to come up with story ideas.

Writing prompts are used frequently in schools to help learners jump-start their creative thinking and generate story ideas. But, story prompts aren't just great for kids. They are a great way to help adult writers generate story ideas, too. 

When you’re stuck trying to figure out what to write, the hardest thing to do is just start. With a writing prompt, you don’t have to think about how the story begins - you can take the prompt and turn it into your own creative narrative.

Writing prompts can also help unlock inspiration and get your creative juices flowing. You may start with a writing prompt, and then come up with a different brilliant story idea and switch gears.

Remember, prompts don’t have to be the end game for your story. They are simply an effective strategy to help you get started.

Blue sticky note.

⚡️ACTION STEP ⚡️Use one of the story prompts below to jump-start your writing!

- Every day at noon, you go back in time and (what happens next?!)

- You move into a new house and find that your closet brings you to a new dimension (what happens next?!)

Use the what-if question to come up with story ideas.

Another technique for coming up with story ideas is to use the what-if scenario. An example of this would be - What if an alien landed in my backyard? What if I missed the bus to school? What if I had the ability to go back in time? Generating story ideas using what-if statements can help you think about your unique perspective on a situation and force you to come up with an end result. 

They can also help you develop a compelling plot with different characters and settings. Using the what if statement above about the alien - you now have an interesting character that you can within your story. Is the alien friendly? Is he dangerous? Remember, you're the author, so you get to decide what happens next in your story.

 You can also think about things in life that intrigue you and use them to generate what-if statements. If you love space you could say “what if I was part of the next space exploration team?” 

Using the who, what, when, where, why questions to create your plot will help bring your what if statement full circle. How did it (event) happen? Why is it important? What will you (or the character) do in the story? 

Use genres to come up with story ideas.

Think about the types of genres you love to read (Ultimate list of book genres). Do you like thrillers with a twist? Comedies with a lot of drama? Action with lots of funny scenes? 

Use the different genres to help you pinpoint a story idea of your own. As the writer, you want your story to be something that excites you, intrigues you, or something you would enjoy reading if you found it in a bookstore or online forum. 

Think about how you would tackle a specific genre. What is your take on an action/hero novel? Or what is something spooky that you would love to put in a thriller? Use these questions to help you generate story ideas

Blue sticky note.

⚡️ACTION STEP ⚡️Use the template below to set up your own story idea

Your [insert specific character] is in a [insert specific setting] and must [insert action/dilemma] to [insert solution]

EXAMPLE: The alien (character) lands on earth (setting) and must find someone to help them fix their spaceship (action/dilemma) so they can get home (solution). 

Use your life as an inspiration to come up with story ideas.

Some of the best stories have come from people using their own life as inspiration. Believe it or not, your everyday life, whether it is ordinary or glamorous, is filled with so many different scenarios that you can take one aspect of it and turn it into a story, 

Think about what goes on in your daily life. What are the things in your life that make you happy, bring you joy, or that are so hilarious you chuckle to yourself when you think about them. Those are the types of scenarios you should write about. 

And the best part about your personal stories is that you can use your imagination to change anything you want. Use real people from your life as inspiration for characters in your tale. You don’t have to tell your whole life story either (unless you want to). Just pick your favorite moments and turn them into their own story.

Recreate your favorite story to come up with story ideas

The final tip is to draw inspiration from past books you’ve read and shape them around your story. There are many recreations of the same stories, but with different characters, situations, and events.

Draw inspiration from your favorite tales but put your own original twist on things. It’s important not to copy another author's work, but using your favorite themes to form your own original story can help you generate ideas.

What’s a character that resonated with you that made you feel inspired or empowered? What were some of their traits? Take those traits and develop a story idea around a character who has similar traits. 

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🔥Hot Tip🔥 Turn an old idea into a new idea!

Example: You love the Harry Potter books and want to create your own magical world.
Your story idea: A young sorcerer in a magical land must learn to be brave and strengthen his powers to defeat the ancient Gods threatening his world.

Coming up with story ideas doesn’t have to be a struggle.

Everyone runs into the occasional writer's block now and then. But don’t let that stop you from coming up with great story ideas. Use these writing suggestions above to jump-start your imagination, and get your creative juices flowing so you can get back to writing your story and spend less time wondering what to write..

With a little bit of inspiration, you can create a whimsical, exciting story that resonates with you and your readers. Using writing prompts, what-if statements, genres, your own life, and past books will help fuel your inspiration and get you started with generating ideas. Before you know it, you will have loads of fantastic ideas to pull from.

If you need a little more help formatting your story, take a look at our article, how to create a comic book online to learn more about plots, characters, and themes.

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