How to Find Story Ideas

New ideas for fiction books pop into my head constantly (whether they are good ideas or not is another issue 😉 ). For example, I was at work the other week and suddenly thought, hospital…in space! Space hospital! Yes, that sounds ridiculous, but I promise the plot behind it could make for a great read. So I wrote a little synopsis on a scrap of paper and stuck it in my purse.

When I came up with the plot for the book I’m writing now, I was at work as well. I think I get a lot of story ideas at work because I’m constantly walking – it really gets my brain going. I decided I wanted to write a book in my spare time. I was already working on a book. However, the subject of the book I was already writing was very personal, and I didn’t want it to be my first self-published book. If people didn’t like it, that would be a huge blow for me. If people don’t like the book I’m writing now, it won’t feel great, but I won’t take it too personally.

I decided that I was going to leave work that night having formulated the basic plot of a novel. I came up with a few ideas, some of which I’d still like to develop sometime, but they weren’t quite what I was looking for. When I thought of the one I’m writing now, everything aligned in my mind and I knew it was the one. I couldn’t wait to start writing it.

Coming up with story ideas is all about getting your brain to cooperate with you. Here’s some ways to do that:

  1. Walk! If you’re able, walk. It’s easy, you can do it anywhere, and you don’t have to break a sweat. I get all my best ideas when I’m walking.
  2. Eat smart. Notice I didn’t say, “eat healthy”, because people can’t seem to agree on what that means. Take a couple weeks and pay close attention to how everything you eat makes you feel. I notice a huge difference in my ability to think clearly after eating certain foods (note: donuts are not brain food, unfortunately).
  3. Consume art. Nothing inspires me more than a good movie. Even a bad movie can inspire me, because I start brainstorming ways it could have been better. Video games can inspire me as well, the level of artistry that goes into making a good video game is amazing. You might prefer to listen to music, browse art on Instagram, or read a book. No matter where you find inspiration, remember, you need input to produce output.

In the process of writing, finding ideas is arguably the easiest part, but even so, finding the right idea can be a real challenge. I’m a firm believer in “Aha!” moments, and if you use my tips above, those should come to you more easily.