So, getting back that helpful stuff, I thought I'd blog about getting good story ideas.
I haven't been published yet, but I've already been asked The #1 Question Writers Get: "Where do you get your ideas?"
Um... I don't know. They just come to me.
Okay, okay. I've given it some thought. The first decent answer I came up with was: my story ideas come to me just like any idea comes to any person.
Inventors come up with incredible gadgets. Usually, when they answer The Idea Question, they talk about a problem they were having. Then, they'll say, "So I invented the doohicky-o-matic!"
So... you got your idea from a problem? Didn't the idea come AFTER you had the problem?
Seriously, I think that's how our brains work. We see a problem, and we try to come up with a solution. Some of us are better at it than others. (But is it possible that it just takes practice?)
When I want a story idea, I have to define my problem, with specifics. And no, the problem isn't just 'I need a story idea'. My problem is: I need a character that lacks something, in an interesting setting, with the potential for a lot of problems to happen around him/her while he/she struggles with her own problems. And it needs to be entertaining.
But how can your brain work with garbage like that?
Be more specific!
I want a 70,000-word YA novel with a spunky female protagonist who doesn't know what's good for her, who finds herself in a situation with a fantasy element in it.
Usually, the more specific I am, the faster the ideas come to me. I analyze each idea until I find one I'm excited to work on. (Because, let's be honest, sometimes my ideas aren't all that good.)
Of course, there are other ways I get ideas. I got my idea for Ivy Thorn because friends challenged me to approach writing from a different angle. I wasn't looking for a story idea then.
And I got my idea for my zombie book from
So my Top 4 pieces of advice for coming up with good story ideas are:
1) Be specific with what you want
2) Read a lot
3) Try new things with your writing
4) When an idea does come, pick it apart to see if it has "great idea" potential. If it doesn't, keep trying.
More on story ideas to come...