Brainstorming for New Ideas

How to Find your Story


How do you come up with new ideas for a novels, magazine articles, blog posts and simple social media posts? The task can be difficult at times.

But with a few suggestions, you can create a system that works for you.


NOVELS/SHORT STORIES:

Personal events (Hurricane Katrina, The 500 year flood)
Events you have witnessed (Your mechanic was arrested for murder… Now what?)
News articles (What’s currently happening and drawing attention?)
Pictures (Pictures of ghostly figures from the past, an abandoned home, crying child)
Historical events (Look at Historical book sales, wow)
Taking historical events and asking, “What if?” (What if America had lost WWII?)
Taking a book and asking, “What if?”(What if Jack in the Bean Stalk had been a girl?)
Family stories that have been passed down. (Everyone in the south has an Indian Princess in the family tree)


The Process

I start the process by looking at human triumph through an extreme situation or circumstance. The girl who overcame being molested as a child, now is the D.A going after every sex offender she can. The boy who broke his leg during his last high school football game but is now a college coach.

I ask some questions. “What if she killed her molester and got away with it?” “What if she decided to dedicate herself to working in domestic abuse shelters, only to find herself in harm’s way again and again?” “What if the boy lost his chances of going to college?” “What if he plotted revenge on those who stole his future?” “What if his girlfriend, decided his best friend was more her type?”

Asking why, what if, where, and who provides the means for the birth of a story.


MAGAZINE ARTICLES:

What do you know? (I’ve moved 23 times, I know a lot about moving.)
What do you like? (I like food, good food, different food, food I don’t cook and food that’s easy to cook)
What do you enjoy? (I enjoy traveling and seeing new places)
What are your hobbies? (My hobbies include kayaking & hiking)
What businesses do you think others should know about? (I think new restaurants that have stand out menus are great to share)


BLOG POSTS:

Because I manage several small business blogs, I have a schedule or editorial calendar. Each day of the week has a theme and each week or month can also have a theme.

Themes include seasons, seasonal holidays, etc.

Themes have subjects:
Mondays ~ Organizing/Shopping Lists
Tuesdays ~ Meal Planning/Recipes/Food Blogs
Wednesdays ~ Fun Ideas/DYI/Decorating Tips
Thursdays ~ Healthy Living/Exercise/Tips for busy Families
Fridays ~ Restaurants to Try/Best Places to Pick up an Easy Meal
Saturdays ~ What’s Going On/Fun Family Day Trips & Activities
Sundays ~ Upcoming Events/Festivals

Themes should consider the type of audience you are wanting to reach. Take for instance a real estate blog. Themes tend to center around marketing, closing, title insurance facts, closing gifts, decorating tips or how to stage a home or information for buyers.


Knowing your Audience

At my blog: http://cindymjones.com/, my posts are geared toward other writers and helping them. Whether they are working on blog posts, social media accounts, writing non-fiction or working on their first novel, I have tons of resources just for my writing friends.

Knowing your audience is key in almost everything you write. You are writing for someone to read whatever it is you’re writing and you want someone to find it interesting, helpful, or entertaining.

I don’t believe in writer’s block, there’s too much going on in the world not to have an idea. Stop limiting yourself by being afraid that no one’s interested in what you have to say or write. That’s simply not true.

If it’s interesting to you — most likely it’s interesting to someone else.

How do you come up with your ideas?

Cindy M. Jones ~ Stories for Readers, Tips for Writers