Finding ideas for a remarkable story can seem daunting.

Often, story ideas come in the form of a question or a concept which you untangle to form a skeleton of an idea.

Sometimes a great idea presents itself and you get butterflies knowing that this idea is the one.

Rarely, but it can happen, you will think of a full-fledged story skeleton. The beginning, the middle, and, the end. And when you do it is easy to fill in the gaps and write a story.

Ways to Find Story Ideas


Garry Disher in his book writing fiction lists some of the ways writers get ideas:

  • Dreams
  • Unusual, humorous or moving newspaper items
  • Snatches of overheard conversation
  • Observations about peoples mannerisms and relationships
  • Anecdotes
  • Character descriptions and profiles
  • Speculations (asking the question, what if…)
  • Incidents they have witnessed
  • Responses to books, films, paintings, music
  • Painful or pleasing experiences
  • Landscapes
  • Plot outlines, beginnings, endings


Brainstorming ideas

Writing a list of interconnecting ideas and searching for other ideas that relate or do not relate and then combining them is a wonderful way to get ideas for a story.


 Using What if to Trigger Story Ideas


One of the best techniques is asking the question, what if?

  • What if a rich boy meets a wild girl while riding his horse through a forest?
  • What if a pilot flies a plane through a porthole in the clouds?


There are an infinite number of stories that can be created from asking what if and then choosing an idea that stands out.


After you have answered the what if question if leads to other questions like:

  • What will happen if?
  • When did it happen?
  • Why did it happen?
  • Who initiated the problem?
  • How did the protagonists normal world change?


There are hundreds of questions that can be asked and you will discover them once you begin writing your story.


Cliff Daigle has written about this in his article How to Get Story Ideas for Fiction Writing


Hunting for ideas in public places


Another idea is to go to a public place like a shopping centre. Sit in a café and look at the people around you. Pick one person and make up a story about them. Watch their mannerisms, the way they talk, the way they smile, what would that person be like as a hero in a crime novel, or a fantasy story, what about in a romance. Doing this exercise will trigger many different ideas.


Using templates to help trigger ideas


If you need help starting your story then the following template can help you solidify a story idea.

Templates can be the starting point of idea searching. It can inspire your brain to search for curious combinations which can then be a trigger for a unique story.



It doesn’t matter which method you use. You may use one, or all of these methods from the beginning to the end of your novel.

There is no right or wrong way.

What matters is that you write your ideas down and then flesh them out so you can write the best story that you are currently capable of writing.