In my previous post, I talked all about how to choose your next book project. But let’s take a step back: how do you actually get those ideas for a book in the first place? Where do they come from? How do you develop them? Today, I’m going to share nine tips on how to generate exciting ideas that will get you inspired and itching to write in no time!
#1: The “What-If” Method
Stephen King has been known to use this method frequently to develop his own ideas. The method is simple: ask yourself “what if this happened?”
“What if a girl wakes up with no memory of who she is?”
“What if a nurse is kidnapped while hitch hiking?”
“What if an abandoned baby is found by a couple who’s always wanted children?”
By just asking myself these “what-if” questions, I can already feel another series of questions brewing.
“What if the girl was in a horrible accident?”
“What if the nurse is running away from an abusive home life?”
“What if the couple who finds the baby are having trouble conceiving?”
Using this method, an entire door of creative possibilities can open. Ask yourself “what if” questions about the characters, the world, the “why”. This method is a sure way to create some story ideas!
#2: Listen to Music
I’m a big fan of music, and it’s one of my – and many other authors – favorite method of generating story ideas. Music has a way of pulling us in and taking us to a whole other world. When I’m generating ideas, I’ll listen to my entire music library at random, letting any and every song play. I like to have a pen and paper (or the notes app on my phone) at the ready in case an idea springs to mind.
#3: Read – Anything and Everything
I’m a big believer that if you want to be a writer, then you have to be a reader, too. There’s so much reading can do to help us grow and learn, not just as writers, but also people. When looking for new ideas, reading can be one of the best sources to find them.
Binge read for a couple of days. Devour every book you can, and see what ideas may spark inside of you. Maybe it’s a line or scene from a book. Maybe an author writes a retelling, and you don’t like the execution, so you think about how you would have changed things. Give yourself time to absorb everything you read, and see what happens.
#4: Take a Drive
A couple years ago when I was in college, I had to drive forty-five minutes there and back every day. Do you know how many ideas I got from those long drives? Tons!
Driving can admittedly be pretty boring, but it gives you the opportunity to let your mind wander. Simply letting your mind go, free of all restrictions, can help generate story ideas.
This may be one of my favorite methods, because I love napping. Dreams have been a source of inspiration and ideas for all writers. Even Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight came to her in a dream.
Even if you don’t get any ideas from your sleep, just getting enough sleep is a sure way to have a healthy mind.
#6: Absorb other Creative Mediums
Go to a movie. Binge Netflix. Browse Pinterest. Anything that can get your creative juices flowing is always a proven method. Let your mind absorb the information around you. Maybe there’s a line from a movie that sparks inspiration, or a photo on Pinterest (one of my personal favorite methods). Maybe you binge watch a TV show, and one of the episode concepts sparks inspiration. Whatever it is, absorbing new creative inspiration is necessary.
#:7: Go About Your Daily Routine
Sometimes our best ideas come from doing literally nothing but going about or day. Driving to work. Making that first cup of coffee in the morning, putting makeup on, cooking dinner. We do these tasks so frequently that it’s easy for our brains to wander, and before you know, an idea may come out of nowhere.
I’ve come up with a ton of ideas by simply doing my nighttime routine. Taking my makeup off, feeding the cat, getting a glass of water before bed – so many novel ideas have come from this monotonous routine.
My previous WIP, Forbidden, is heavily inspired by Ancient Greece and Greek Mythology. I spent a long time doing research on ancient Greek customs, festivals, rituals, etc. – all of which helped generate story and scene ideas.
Research different cultures, different mythologies, different fairytales – anything and everything can spark story ideas.
I think by now you’ve probably got the hint: inspiration cane come from everywhere. A person, a place, a line in a movie, a scene in a book. I actually have an idea for a science fiction novel that I got because of someone’s license plate! The point is, let yourself find inspiration everywhere you go. Don’t limit yourself, and the ideas will be sure to flow.
How do you generate story ideas? Let me know in the comments!