Generating Ideas

One of the biggest challenges when you first try to tell stories is finding ideas. When I first started writing, I would do free-writing exercises, I would listen to music, and I would stay up past midnight until my internal censor would get tired.

Over the years I would keep a journal, and every time I had a idea or something struck out to me I would write it down. When I try to find ideas for short story ideas I try to notice something about the world or I play the what if game. What if that elderly couple were in a crime thriller story? What if I wrote a story like a texting conversation? What if a spirit took over the body of a person?

Last year, I saw a tall gangly looking guy with a wind breaker, bike shorts, sports sunglasses and a spikey blonde haircut. A few minutes later I saw a short woman wearing black slacks and a cobalt blue shirt with a lip ring and an eyebrow piercing. I asked myself what if those two people started robbing banks? How would they meet? How would they plan it? And then I started writing a story called “The Straw, The Coal, and The Bean.”

You never know where you’re going to find the idea for your next big story. I always carry around a notebook for when I get an idea or whenever I need to write and in a pinch I use my iPhone.

What do you do to catch ideas?