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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Where Do You Find Story Ideas?

A woman falls into a hole and has to figure out how to climb out. That's a basic story. Almost all stories are a variant of this basic story. With a protagonist and a problem, you have a story.

Any time you encounter an interesting person, you have the beginnings of a story. If you discover a conflict or a problem, you have the beginnings of a story. The bigger the problem or conflict the more potential your story has. The more appealing, appalling or unusual your protagonist, the more potential your story has.

Story ideas can come from anywhere. Perhaps you ride in an elevator with a very elegantly dressed Middle Eastern man. The children riding with him are blonde and fair. Is there a story there? Probably. A beautiful woman seldom has more than three dates with a man before the relationship sours. Do you have a story to tell? I think so. You read a newspaper article about an accident. A 42-year-old man kills an 11-year-old girl who darts from between parked cars into the path of his speeding car. Yes, we definitely have a story in this case. Your father is extremely critical of your choices in life. According to him, you picked the wrong schools, the wrong career and the wrong mate. Do I have to tell you that there is a story here?

Story ideas are everywhere. Begin to make notes about interesting people and difficult situations. Before long, you will have more than enough story ideas to keep busy.

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