Coming Up with Ideas and Inspiration for Your Story

One of the most difficult aspects of writing a good story is coming up with the ideas and inspiration necessary to make a story interesting and engaging. Whether it is a clever bit of dialogue, an unexpected plot twist or simply a memorable character, it all starts with an idea.

There are, however, numerous techniques that you can employ to help you come up with these creative ideas, as Keith Gray (online writer in residence at The Scottish Book Trust) explains here:

Points to Remember

First develop your ideas and inspiration and then start writing (facing a blank page without any clear cut ideas or direction can be a rather frustrating and counter-productive experience).

Find a variety of places which help you to think up ideas and come up with inspiration for your stories. Possible locations include cafes, parks, nice walks, and historically significant locations.

Read (and reread) other books, stories and authors (particularly those you enjoy the most). In addition noting their writing styles and techniques, look for ideas for characters, plots, dialogue, scenes, etc. Don’t copy their ideas, just use them in new and creative ways to help you create your own story.

Make sure that your work space is conducive to writing and being productive. It should be enjoyable to work in and contain all the materials you need to write.

Good movies and other non-written stories and media can also be sources of inspiration.

Revisit previous works that you’ve written and rework them. Alternatively, use them for ideas of new stories and ideas. For instance, perhaps you can take a minor character in one book and make him or her the main character of another story. Similarly, you can build off of side-themes and events and develop them more fully in new works.

Don’t forget the real world when looking for inspirations. News stories, historical events and personal experiences (yours or your friends and families) can all be the source of good ideas.

Make sure to organize your ideas and inspirations – you don’t want to forget them when you are actually ready to start writing. Invest in a notebook or something similar and jot down those ideas that you want to remember so that you are can easily retrieve them when you most need them.