I have been thinking a lot about where great story ideas often come from. When we are at school, we are taught that a good story begins with a detailed setting and an interesting main character. In my experience, this is not a bad place to start. Almost every story I have ever written has emerged from a particular setting. The main character has usually developed soon afterwards.
Many of you will know that I began by writing short stories and I am a massive fan of short fiction. One of my favourite locations for a short story is somewhere snowy. Here is a short clip of a snowy setting that made me want to write a story about getting stuck in a snowdrift.
For me, a story nearly always starts with a certain location. I like to know where my characters are going to be based before I conjure up problems for them to deal with. As a writer, if you are suffering from writer’s block, perhaps explore some pictures of a variety of places before trying to imagine a storyline. Often the location will spark a story gem which can grow and satisfy.
Some settings I have enjoyed using are:
1) The seaside. A trip to Hunstanton gave me inspiration for a tale about a woman returning to the beach where her husband perished.
2) The Swiss Alps. My holiday there made me think about what Christmas might be like there and set the scene for a story of a reporter sent to Switzerland to interview a guy claiming to be Jesus.
3) A Yorkshire town. A weekend away to Skipton started me thinking about a sleepy Yorkshire town where a corrupt mayor might hold the keys to more than just the town hall.
4) One deserted Fenland house. Driving past an old house with shattered windows made me wonder who might have lived there. It inspired my upcoming YA novel about two teenagers being watched by a mysterious land owner.
5) A patisserie. A quaint French patisserie got me imagining two people meeting through a glass bakery counter. One was feverishly cleaning the glass while the other looked fondly at not only the baked goods but also the woman behind the counter. Their eyes met then they were transfixed.
For me, my best ideas come from travelling and it is no surprise that holidays have fuelled my stories. My lack of holidays during the pandemic has slowed down my creative writing but I am looking forward to some travelling across Europe in summer. My advice to any writer would be write about somewhere you know OR a place that you want to get to know well.
Thank you for taking the time to read my article. For another post about writing stories, check out How To Write Short Stories. Please consider following my blog for future similar articles.
14 thoughts on “Where Can You Get Story Ideas From?”
It is always interesting to know how other writers get inspired for their stories. I can understand how a specific location can set your imagination on fire. I hope that this summer you will travel enough and find inspiration for lots of new stories.
Thank you for sharing your experience!
Awww thanks for commenting.
You’ve shared some great story starters here! I’m not a story writer myself but my dads friend is so I’ll defiantly share this with him, I think he’ll really appreciate this post. Thank you so much for sharing Xo
Elle – ellegracedeveson.com
Aww that is kind. Cheers.
I have a problem expressing myself when I write. English is not my first language so I ran out of words. Good post btw.
It’s so interesting to see how fellow writers find ideas and I really like the idea of looking back at pictures when on a writers block, i will keep it in my mind!
Yes it always helps me. Thank you.
I’m the same way as you & I’m often inspired by places I’ve travelled to.
Years ago I visited this small Danish island & we stayed in this old house & it inspired me to start writing my first novel. It is about a group of friends who go on vacation to the island & during the night one of them goes missing.
That is a cool premise. Glad you get the same type of ideas.