I’ve done a post before on writer’s block in general but this post is more specifically for short stories. Sometimes writing stories can be so difficult because either you can’t think of what to write or you have the ideas but don’t know which direction your story will end up taking. So I have devised a few tips for you to show you that inspiration is all around so in future you will never be without ideas!
1- Use the people surrounding you for ideas! Everybody is unique, everybody has different stories to tell. When I used to work in a café people would come in and tell me all about their lives, places they’ve travelled etc and all this is really useful when writing stories. Stories other people have told you sparks off ideas for your own stories.
2- Think up random situations then add what if? So if you were on the train to work think what if you didn’t get on the right train? What would you do if you were late? What if the person next to you had sat next to the woman in front of you? Mundane everyday tasks can be turned into a story just by adding ‘what if’.
3- It is best to write about what you know and are interested in. I absolutely love history so I tend to write a lot on World War Two. Because I know the subject very well I have a lot to write about so this makes the ideas and writing process much easier.
4- The best ideas come to you when you think about other things. Try not to concentrate too much on the concept of writing a story. Go about your everyday life and ideas will come to you.
5- Ask people questions! Like I said in my first tip people are so interesting. Ask them questions like when were you last scared? What made you laugh so much you cried? What is something memorable you have done in the past year/month/week? There are so many different questions to ask people which will spark off ideas.
6- Look through newspapers. Read the stories/ factual features and again ask questions to yourself such as what if this had turned out different? How could it turn out different?
7- Look through magazines especially on the problem pages. What would you do if that was you, how would your ‘character’ react if that had happened to them? Magazines are also great for pictures of people not just celebrities. Flick to the nearest magazine, go to a random page, look at the first person on there ask yourself these questions – what has this person just been doing? What are they about to do? What job are they putting off? What are they excited about? What are they dreading?
8- Listen to the radio. The presenters always come up with stories during the links between songs so go off them and create your ideas from there.
9- Research on the internet. Googling things such as ‘coincidences’ or ‘ghost stories’ can bring up stories that will for sure spark ideas.
10- Travel experience. Use your own experiences for stories. I went to Auschwitz a year ago and I can write a meaningful, detailed piece on it because I went there. So the trick is to use what you know.
Hope this helped you! This is part two to my ‘How To Write Short Stories’, there will be plenty more to come! 🙂