Find a Theme for Your Short Story
Writer's block can be a real pain. Here are some easy steps to finding interesting ideas to write about.
- There is not a specific formula to finding ideas to write about, but there are ways to help you brainstorm.
- Think about topics that you have expertise in. The cliché "write what you know" is a decent place to start, so if you love baseball, write about a fictional baseball character.
- Think about topics that interest you. If you don't have a definite grasp on the subject, find a local library (or Google) and start researching.
- Another way to find ideas is to start noticing the world around you. Is there something about your life that has always struck you as odd?
- Take an interesting event in your life and change it around a little. Perhaps you got cut from your city's basketball team, but join the rival team and help them win the championships? You could take the basic idea and have a story if you change the setting and the characters.
- Create a Character. Try mixing traits from people you know. Work with the character and write down their interests, dislikes, desires, occupation, physical features, etc. Sometimes making a character sparks an idea to "write their story."
- If you can't make a character, choose a random person who you encounter during the day. Write their story.
- If none of these ideas work, Google the term "story ideas" or something along those lines. There are several websites that have lists of plot lines waiting for someone to develop.
- Along this line, think about your audience, is this a story they would want to read?
- Read, read, read. Lots of writers get ideas from reading the work of other people.
- Write all your ideas down, even the ones that aren't winners. Sometimes a little brainstorming can spark a better idea.
- When you have a good portion of the story, have a trusted friend read and edit it. S/he may give you details for a better direction, idea, etc. Plus, it is always good to get a second opinion about the work. After all, your story will eventually have an audience.
- Be observant. You never know when an idea will suddenly formulate.
- Take a few ideas and "free-write." What you come up with may not be publish-worthy, but it will get you started in the right direction for your eventual Pulitzer.
- No one said that writing fiction is easy. These things take lots of time, energy, and reams of paper.
- Absolutely avoid plagiarizing the work of someone else.
- If you decide to write a non-fiction story, don't write about events that never happened. Research James Frey for details.
- On the other hand, if you feel compelled to write about historical events that never happened, or that turned out differently (think "what-if" stories), you may be more interested in historical fiction, and may want to read up on authors like James Michener or Harry Turtledove.
- Brainstorm Children's Picture Book Ideas
- Come Up with a Topic to Write About
- Develop a Character for a Story
- Get Inspired to Write
- Prevent Writer's Block
- Develop a Story Theme