Are you stuck for ideas?
It may be a little late for those people attempting NaNoWriMo this month, but it’s never too late for the rest of us to come up with some great story ideas.
IO9 gave these as “10 Tips for Generating Killer Science Fiction Story Ideas“, but some of them are just interesting ways to bump up some conflict and aren’t limited to science-fiction at all. Here’s the short list of them, before I go into details on a couple:
- Look at the big unanswered questions
- Imagine a new scientific or technological discovery — and then imagine it ruining your life
- Take your biggest fear about the future and take it to an extreme
- Instead of speculating about science, try sociology or philosophy or theology
- Think of an act you would never approve of, then imagine a sympathetic character doing that act
- Why can’t you just go and get what you want, in real life?
- Get into a fight with a famous science fiction author
- State the obvious
- Come up with five non-obvious consequences of a technological or scientific breakthrough, and focus on one of them
- Think about something you used to believe, and then imagine what if it was true
Now, first, a quick note about Number 7 there. Don’t go hit a famous author! What they mean, is decide how wrong one is and write your story to disprove the conclusions they made (*cough* Ayn Rand *cough*).
But, look at that list. The article on IO9.com is focused on killer science-fiction ideas because they’re a science-fiction website, but, outside of Numbers 2 and 9, really, you could take out the sci-fi element and still have a good story.
Yes, even Number 3, “Take your biggest fear about the future and take it to an extreme” can make compelling fiction in pretty much any genre, including literary fiction, if you handle it right. And, if you’re stuck, maybe it’s time to try writing outside your normal genre anyway. I mean, what if that’s the whole problem in the first place, right?
So, whether you’re doing NaNoWriMo or not, these are great ways to generate ideas for stories.
And, either way, it’s Friday and you’re clearly slacking if you’re reading this, so you might as well click that link up there and have some fun.
Happy weekend and happy writing!