Finding Story Ideas

Photo courtesy: Freepik

I’m not a terribly disciplined person when it comes to writing. I have a noisy mind, random thoughts running parallel to one another at any given point of time. Most of them have nothing to do with writing – mundane, routine stuff such as buying groceries, planning meals, running errands or even the washing occupy my thoughts mostly. The pandemic has stirred up more chaos. I’m distracted, worried, anxious, panicky at various times. It is very difficult to focus and read or write.

I’m guessing most of you are struggling with the same challenges, right?

I don’t have a desk or a fancy office. Most of the time, I am typing away furiously at the dining table or even the bed, propped up by cushions. I don’t like working in coffee shops or park benches. People distract me, conversations disrupt my train of thought and I end up eavesdropping (discreetly of course) without getting my own work done. The food that I consume when I’m out is also something I could do without. These days, of course, there is no “out”. I have been housebound for over a year.

Many people have asked me how I get ideas for my stories.

Usually, they come to me, in the middle of something I’m busy with. A burst of inspiration when I’m washing dishes, absently working up a lather while staring out of the kitchen window. Ideally, the neighbourhood supermarket or a café would have been great places to run into people and what are stories about, if not people? Unfortunately, I haven’t stepped out of the house since March last year. So meeting people is not something one can do under the present circumstances.

Read, read, read. I read a lot. Anything I can get my hands on really. Books, magazines, newspapers. Great places to come across interesting nuggets of information you can use for your stories and/or character development. If you are writing true crime or a thriller, perhaps you can find some inspiration for your novel from a real-life incident being reported in the papers?

Memories are a good place to mine for ideas. Think back to some of your favourite memories from the past. A birthday party or a trip to the zoo. A favourite relative who may not be alive anymore..

Writing Prompts. I’ve never used a prompt but most writing websites feature them. Perhaps you could use your favourite memory from childhood as a prompt? Let me know how that worked for you. I’d love to read the story.

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