1. Look at the inanimate object directly to your left, or if you use your mouse with your left hand, directly to your right. What would a story from its perspective be like? What if an entire society were based around it? Could a human’s life cycle be similar to its life cycle? Could one be haunted? Any object can inspire numerous stories. The great thing is that the entire world is filled with objects.
2. The next time you hear a metaphor, especially an uncommon one, take it at face value. Really? His mind is a library? What would the implications of that be? Most metaphors could be adapted into stories quite easily.
3. Take any opinion to its extreme. Imagine if people had to hide their rocky road ice cream because only chocolate was around. Worlds consisting of evil Republicans or evil Democrats have been done to death, so choose a different opinion.
4. Take all of your pet peeves about a specific genre and make a story that excludes them. Instead of complaining about how so many fantasy stories use the same monsters over and over again and how most of them copy Tolkien, I thought of two wonderful fantasy stories that didn’t do either of those things. Find a convention of a genre that you don’t like and create a story without it, and you’ll be surprised at how unique and complex your story becomes.
5. Think of an interesting quirk that somebody could have and extrapolate how their entire life would turn out with that quirk in mind. If somebody is born a werewolf, how do they get through school? How do they find a job and get married? Do they look cute as a wolf cub in their crib? Do they cause havoc in the retirement home? Don’t focus on the teenage years unless you have a truly original quirk; there are already a million books that do that.
6. Think of a problem. It can be an everyday one, like socks disappearing in the dryer, or a major one, like world hunger. Figure out a weird solution to it and consider the implications that solution would have on society.
7. Take the main idea of a dream and depending on the type of story you want, figure out whether you want to include the weird stuff or not.
8. What’s one rule you can’t stand? Explore what would happen if that rule was removed. What’s one rule you wish existed? Explore what would happen if that were the case. Don’t forget to include all of the nasty downsides.
9. Have a character who wants something really unusual. Did you know that in Japan, they have a gun that shoots teddy bears? If your character wants something that bizarre, any story about them will be interesting to read.
10. What’s the strangest experience you can think of? Write about somebody experiencing it.
Thousands of ideas can spring from these ten vague concepts. Try it out yourself!
The follower of the day is writing-problems.