Hey, how do you find the ideas for you writings? The plot is just so intriguing, creative, and beautiful. I have this problem finding new ideas for my projects. The ones I had in mind seemed to be too plain or boring. Any advice?
A simple method for creating cool stories:
Step One: Steal Concepts.
I don’t mean specific details or unique ideas or full stories. I mean base level concepts.
- You enjoyed a story about a pantheon of wacky gods?
- You really like the idea of an epic car race?
- You love how awesome the elemental powers are in a certain movie?
- You can’t get enough vampire stories?
- You’re a big fan of forbidden love?
Steal those concepts. They’ve all been done before. The concepts alone aren’t anyone’s creative property. They are a bit boring as stagnant concepts that don’t fit into anything, but that’s okay for now.
Step Two: Combine a bunch of these stolen concepts.
Imagine I just stole all those concepts. Now I’m going to put them together. It goes a little something like this…
(Please note that I didn’t have any idea I was going to be putting them all together this when I came up with the list above. It’s a totally random bunch of concepts.)
So. We have a pantheon of wacky gods. They control this world where the technology has progressed enough for their to be car-like vehicles, and the humans who create them like to race them for sport, while the gods watch and sometimes appear to congratulate the winners. This is a forbidden love story, so lets follow one of the racers and one of the gods.
Now the gods in this story are all elemental based gods, and their devote followers have a certain control over the element of the god they follow. They often use these powers in the races, though it’s technically illegal.
Where do the vampires fit in? Fuck, um… So the races are getting more and more extreme, yeah? And at the start of the story, they lead through a series of not-quite-explored caverns with crazy monsters. One of these monster species are vampiric, and on rare occasions can transfer their need for blood to a human they bite.
(For simplicity, we’ll say that humans turned vampire cannot create more vampires. There have not been many of these human-vampires for centuries because the monsters who turn them were mostly extinct. Human-vampires are shunned by the gods, not allowed to use elemental powers, and can’t race.)
Our human hero is a devote follower of one particular god, and is secretly in love with this god, who they don’t realize is also secretly in love with them. They dive their car into the crazy caverns and get bitten by a monster, turning them into a vampire. Afraid that they can no longer be near the love of their life, they struggle to hide their vampire side while competing to reach the final race so they can continue seeing the god they love.
Wooh. That was a mess.
If you want something that feels less chaotic, you’ll have to use a larger list of concepts and pick and choose what fits most neatly together, but as you can see, you can build a functioning story out of pretty much anything.
- This works for individual scenes, for settings, for character building, etc.
- It might require a bit of brainstorming as you try to piece the concepts together in a useful way.
- There are plenty of other perfect good ways of creating a story. This is just the one I use most often for speculative fiction and seems to come up with the most unique stories.
If you’re having trouble getting this method to work, experiment with it merely for fun. Come up with a long list and use it to build ten novels you don’t plan to write. Focus on being as crazy, chaotic, and stupidly creative as possible. Sometimes you have to run through a bunch of terrible but hilarious plot ideas before you find one you really love.