What if you had a foolproof way of finding new and exciting ideas for stories? If you’re like me, sometimes ideas flow like water over the falls, tumbles and tangles of the beginnings, middles, or ends of workable storylines. Other times, though, not so much. When that mighty river trickles to a stop and I despair of ever having the makings of a good story again, there’s one writing exercise I return to consistently: The What If.
This exercise isn’t magic, but it can seem like it, particularly when you’re stumped for ideas. While you can look online for writing prompts, finding one you like in your genre can be difficult. Because this exercise lends itself to any genre or story length, it’s perfect for any writer.
This is so simple it’s gonna make you mad you didn’t think of it earlier. Let me walk you through it:
A girl is walking down the street.
Now add your “what if” magic (insert magic wand sound effect here).
You get the idea (pun intended). You can add any “what if” element to your scenario, and I encourage you to do so. Add things even if they seem ridiculous. Since you never know how something, or combination of things, is going to trigger a phenomenal idea for a kick ass story, make sure you write each one down.
Let’s try another one, just for fun. Here’s your scenario:
An old man is drinking coffee at the kitchen table. The sun is shining through the curtains.
Make your own magic. Get scenarios from real life, grab them off a television show, or enlist a friend to shoot you a sentence or two. Then, unleash the brainstorm that’s brewing just beneath your surface. Just utter those two simple words and turn the most innocuous of scenarios into the sweetest story concept yet.
Go on, I dare you!
See you on the next page!