Story Idea Generator – Create Your Own

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Push-button easy story idea generators are becoming commonplace online. But when you realize how brain-dead simple their structure is, they won’t seem nearly so much like magic as they may appear at first. The truth is, you can create your own story idea generator with a little imagination and a bit of brainstorming.

First, decide what kind of idea you want to generate. Do you want to produce quirky characters, plot complications, scenarios, goof-ball settings or a story starter with good detail?

Next, choose which categories you wish to comprise your outcome.

Finally, make a list of elements within each category.

Excel is ideal for this.

Using column headings, make your lists of elements ( think generic with minimal description). You can add to the list over time.

When your lists are all complete, randomly pick one item from each column and start writing.

Here is a possible list of categories for coming up with a story scenario:

  • protagonist description
  • problem/object of conflict
  • antagonist description
  • setting
  • time
  • complication

Add to or modify these categories until you have the details you’re interested in. For example, you may want to make a list of adjectives or modifying phrases as a separate category.

Gender

Age

Nationality/Species/Race

Personality Trait

Profession

Female

55

Betazoid

Eccentric

Philanthropist

Neuter

9

Ferret

Telepathic

Bard

Male

32

Ferengi

Extremely Intelligent

Engineer

Female

86

Bejoran

Lusty

Physicist

You get the idea. You’re only limited by your imagination. You could also enlist your friends’ help. Have them each email you a list of 20 personality traits or brainstorm with a group of like-minded people as many possible categories and elements for each category as you can come up with. The main rule is, no answer is wrong!

When you have your lists compiled, pick one item from each column at random (perhaps using the old “close your eyes and point” method) and type it out in your word processor. VoilĂ ! You’ve just generated a character description.

For examples of script-based story idea generators, visit these articles on this blog:

Writing Resources – Using a Conflict Generator Effectively
Creative Writing Resources – Another Set of Tools
Idea Generators for Non-Fiction Writing
Online Story Idea Generators
Story Ideas – Online Story Idea Generators
Story Ideas – Online Idea Generators
Story Ideas – Short Fiction Idea Generators
Writing Resources – Story Idea Generators Revisited

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About Deborah Gallardo

Deb Gallardo is a published author for adults and children, an educator and an accomplished performer in concert and on stage. She helps fiction writers find story ideas and offers writing tips, advice, exercises and inspiration.
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2 Responses to Story Idea Generator – Create Your Own

  1. Deb Gallardo says:

    Melissa,

    I’m always interested in suggestions to improve my blog.

    But I must admit your response puzzles me. I have yet to visit any website that didn’t have links on it. We can’t possibly display everything all on one page. Links are how we organize information so that readers can make sense of everything. This is standard website design.

    As for putting more information on my site, there are already nearly 1,000 blog posts about writing, most of them about how to find story ideas all around you. The majority of them are at least 500 words. Some are 1,000 words, and there are a few that run close to 2,000 words.

    If you have an example of someplace online that is NOT a website with links on it, I would be interested in seeing it.

    I’m sorry that you feel researching what you’re looking for is a waste of time. If you plan to “write a great book” then you will have to spend many such “wasted” hours doing even more tedious things like plotting, character building, creating mood, developing thematic elements, writing, editing, rewriting and still more rewriting.

    Writing a book is a long process. If clicking on a link and reading a blog post is too time-consuming for you, I’m not sure you’ll find the process of drafting and perfecting an entire book a pleasant experience.

    And here’s a free tip: In your 80-some-word comment, you misspelled five percent of the text. When you contact a publisher or agent, your copy has to be 100% error-free.

    Another tip: Story idea generators will only give you a bit of inspiration. They won’t write your book for you. Being an author is hard work. Writing a great book takes tremendous effort and more time than merely clicking on a few links. If you’re complaining about that, what will you say when you’re on your fourth rewrite of 100,000 words? Just something to think about.

    Thanks for taking the time to comment.

    Deb

  2. ibaG says:

    This website is bad and unhelpful!! I am looking to write a great book of my own, and I was looking for an ideal Story Generator, and yet all I got was a website with links on it. It takes and awful amount of time going through each link trying to find just what you are looking for. My reccommendation is to maybe put more information on your actual website, and have it so that veiwers can see all information without having to waste time on the links.

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