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An Ongoing List to Generate Story Ideas

Let me know if you have any more ideas.

David Gane
David Gane
1 min read
  • Personal experiences
  • AI photo generator
  • Browse Unsplash.
  • Browse DeviantArt.
  • Other movies or stories. Don’t steal or use the copyrighted material, but piggyback off them into a different story.
  • Vent. Rant. Pick a fight with something that upsets you.
  • Free writing (at least 500 words before you give up)
  • Mind mapping
  • Write for ten minutes. If nothing comes, take a walk, then try again.
  • Write the dumbest/worst piece of writing you can think of.
  • Write about a character in a movie that is a secondary character.
  • Write a long list of nouns of things that interest you. Visit when you need an idea.
  • Keep an idea journal.
  • Brainstorm with a friend.
  • Write random stuff down during the day, and hopefully, something will work.
  • Doodle
  • Watch people in the park.
  • Listen to music.
  • Play video games.
  • A random word generator. Pick 2-3 words. Does it inspire an idea? Re-spin if nothing works.
  • Story Cubes
  • News articles
  • Wikipedia deep dives
  • Staring at the screen until something hits.
  • r/WritingPrompts
  • r/SimplePrompts
  • 642 Things to Write About
  • What are your character's worries, hopes, or fears? Or what is your own and how can you spin it into a story?
  • Create an idea every day and then go through that list regularly.
  • The 100 idea theory - come up with 100 ideas and then choose the best one out of that list.
  • What's the big problem? Figure out the big problem and then make characters solve it.
  • True life stories. Take a story of your own or that you have the right to tell.
  • Ask the big question: What if...? What if dogs could talk? What if a meteor was heading to earth? Anything goes.
  • Take scenes and dialogue from other scripts or stories you've written and spin them into something new.
  • The comp game - Combine story ideas. When Harry Met Sally meets Die Hard. A western in space. A superhero story where all the powers are bad.
  • Look at the stories of the working class. Don't just go for the big ones.
  • Have a sounding board to that you pitch ideas. Someone who will give you feedback whether it is good or bad or salvageable.
  • What would your version of a genre be? Be specific. Go for the deep sub-genres—especially the ones you love.
  • Add challenges and constrictions. Limited characters, limited locations, limited words. Whatever works to inspire you.

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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