Coming up with one solid story idea is tough enough, but if you have professional writing aspirations, you’ll have to do it daily! So, where do we go to find that endless well of inspiration that pros seem to have found already? Look inward.
That’s the advice we heard from DreamWorks Story Editor Ricky Roxburgh, who previously wrote for Walt Disney Animation Television series including “Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure,” “The Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse,” “Big Hero 6: The Series,” and “Spy Kids: Mission Critical.” All of these gigs required Ricky to dream up storylines frequently, so he couldn’t let his well run dry. He drew from his own experiences to find common themes in the human experience.
Part of finding these story ideas is realizing that the thoughts and emotions you have on a daily basis are likely universal, and you’re not alone in those feelings. So, use them! Dream up new characters who will experience what you did and perhaps create a more satisfying ending to their story.
He likened the story to his own personal experience as a kid.
Veteran TV producer and writer Ross Brown explained a similar process for coming up with new story ideas, and we detailed a writing exercise to draw out these feelings on that blog post. But, there are plenty of other resources to lean on when you’re stuck.
Story Idea Websites:
72 Short Story Ideas by Category and Genre: This site breaks down writing prompts by Humor, Family, Power, Plot Twist, Fantasy, Horror, Dystopian, Crime, Sci-Fi, and Romance.
200 + Short Story Ideas and How to Come Up With Your Own: This site has a handy tool to sort by genre, with more than 200 crazy ideas at your disposal to use as starting points for your own great story.
A Story Idea for Every Day of the Year: 365 story ideas from storyteller E.M. Welsh to help kickstart your creativity whether you’re writing a novel, a short story, a film, or a TV show. She’s even got ideas for plays and video games!
How to Come Up With Your Own Story Ideas:
Draw from personal experience.
Watch films or TV shows in the genres you love, then expand upon those stories with some fan-fiction writing.
Read, read, read! Pick up some screenplays from your favorite films, or switch it up with a genre you wouldn’t usually choose. Find a poem that inspires you, an inspirational quote, or maybe even a cookbook! Ideas can come from anywhere, but you have to be a sponge.
Stay curious. Ask lots of questions. Why is something done this way? Why do I feel like this? Why do we still load airplanes front to back? (Okay, that’s the question I want to be answered more than anything! 😉)
Be perceptive. Stay curious. Be a sponge.
The stories are there if you know where to look,