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20 ideas

A handy trick to get an idea for your next project.

David Gane
David Gane
1 min read

If you want to start a new story but are struggling with what it should be, write out a list of 20 ideas. There is a good chance you’ll come up with one by the end.

Coming up with 20 ideas clears out the garbage and the bad ones. A lot of flotsam floating in our heads, and we need to clear it away.

Don’t be surprised if a good idea shows up early, but still push through to the end. Doing all twenty helps confirm which is the best choice.

Also, it may not feel like you have a good idea, even after making the complete list. Review the list. There might be one you know has potential but are avoiding for some reason, such as it is too big or something scares you about writing it.

And if you still have nothing, you could make another list but add new parameters. I often try to combine genres or story ideas (e.g., a superhero horror or Die Hard meets When Harry Met Sally).

Lastly, the number of items can change depending on the project size. Twenty works for a daily blog post or a weekly story, but if you are writing something that you in10d to do for a few months or years, maybe increase it to 50 or 100.


David Gane Twitter

Co-writer of the Shepherd and Wolfe young adult mysteries, the internationally award-winning series, and teacher of storytelling and screenwriting.


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