on Front Edge Publishing:
Generating story ideas can be infuriatingly difficult but also really fun. I hate the way I feel staring at a blank page but I love the way I feel looking out at the world with my mind full of curiosity.
Here are some of my favorite ways for generating story ideas, the primary ones being to cultivate an endless curiosity and to pay attention. But more specifically…
To pay attention, that is our endless and proper work.
I love coming up with story ideas. Most of my ideas are terrible, but terrible ideas can spark great ideas or can become less terrible over time. And, somewhere in the middle of the terrible ideas there are usually one or two good ones. I keep several lists, saved under the names of the websites or magazines they match and I add to the lists almost weekly so that when a big blank strikes, I have someplace to turn to. The lists include names of places or people, links to articles or books that spark ideas, turns of phrases that I like, anything, just so that when I look at the list, my mind starts gathering scraps for a story.
In no particular order, here are suggestions for generating these story ideas: