Where to Find Short Story Ideas

Refer to the list below for some great short story ideas to get you started. To write a memorable story you need an idea. Something that is unique and different. Something that will inspire you. Something upon which your story can be based. Where do you find this?



Finding Your Short Story Ideas

Ideas are all around you. Try some of the tips and techniques below to find remarkable short story ideas.

Guidebooks.  Browse through a book on your favourite city or place. This could trigger a long forgotten memory. You might just discover something new, a historical fact or place of interest that can spark a new story or an unusual angle.

Take a tour. Sign-up for a guided tour in your favourite city, enjoy a hop-on-hop-off bus ride or opt for a walking tour. You will be surprised how many new and interesting facts you learn about the city, you might also see some unusual sights along the way that can provide some inspiration.

Old photographs. Photographs convey memories in a wonderful way. Pick your favourite and write about an experience you remember. You can also write about someone in the photograph or the hidden story behind the lens.

All in a days work.  Pick a profession or someone you already know and shadow them, observing everything that happens to them in a days work.  This can provide a lot of juicy material for some great stories.

Libraries. Browse through your local library and research a few interesting topics. Remember to chat to the librarians they can provide you with lots of additional material.

Look around you. Ideas are everywhere. Inspiration can spring from the latest magazine cover, a splendid evening gown in a shop window, an advertising billboard or even the design on your favourite chocolate bar. Keep your eyes peeled....

Journaling prompts. The best stories are found in personal experiences. Browse through the selection of journaling prompts to find your next unusual angle. These prompts can be used to kick start your journaling process or simply as memory joggers for your next story or autobiography.

Memorable events. Think back, what events have etched themselves in your memory? Can they provide the basis for your next story? Is the experience worth mentioning? Did you learn anything? Buy yourself tickets to the next live rock show, ballet, opera or River Dance and soak up the experience.

Children’s books.  Nothing beats a good children’s book. Great and skilful author’s such as Roald Dahl and Dr. Seuss can provide endless hours of inspiration and the perfect twist.

Visit your grandparents or an old age home.  Grandparents tell fascinating and intriguing stories. Like a good wine these seem to mature with age. Brew a pot of tea, open your ears, the inspiration will come.

Eavesdrop. I often overhear interesting and unusual stories taking place next to me when I am seated in a restaurant. Let your ears flap while you enjoy a good dinner, who knows, you might find the central theme for your next great novel.

It’s quite the opposite. Spend a day questioning everything. Ponder over the idea of total opposites. What if Snow White was blonde? Red Riding Hood wore white? You slept all day and worked all night? Get the idea?

What else is it used for? Take everyday objects and think of what else they could be used for. Can a simple object provide material to make an interesting story?

People watch. People are colourful. People are different. People are unique. People are emotional. People are physical. People are beautiful. People are simple. People are interesting. People are alive. People provide endless ideas.

Visit a second hand or antique shop. Antiques are beautiful; they have travelled places and been around for many years. Do they hold any stories? Why have they been sold? What has happened to the original owners? Does the shop itself make an interesting story?

Poems or quotations. Perfect words can provide the perfect piece of inspiration, a starting point for a story, a novel, or thoughts to ponder on which could lead you off in another direction. Build up a library of great quotations and refer to these regularly. “Words do two major things: They provide food for the mind and create light for understanding.” – Jim Rohn.

Television programs and talk shows. Talk show hosts always discuss controversial subjects and find interesting and unusual topics for debate. Can you write a story about an unusual person who has appeared on the show? Is there a story behind the talk show host? Or is the discussion topic newsworthy?

Ask people for contributions? Weird things happen. Ask people for ideas? Interview them? People are filled with stories, experiences, people know people, and people see things differently.



If none of the ideas above have inspired you, try the links below for more short story ideas.

Recommended Links For Finding Short Story Ideas

More ways to find short story ideas.

Journaling prompts.

More journaling prompts.

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