Where to start?

Writers-Block-720x478With NaNoWriMo just over a month away, I have decided to put away the plot outline I have for the story I plan to write (don’t want to get bored with it before I start it) and look to short stories to quench my thirst to write until November 1st.

That decision has now led me to the eternal fear of all writers (please tell me I’m not alone in this), coming up with a story idea.

Now I stare at a blank piece of paper (as rendered on my computer screen) in hopes that some magical power makes words apear in an order that represents a plot that I can tell with 1,000 words or so. I want to be able to submit it to a couple of short/flash fiction web sites and need to keep the word count low. Unfortunately my creative brain thinks in epic scale. Most story Ideas I have require at least a trilogy just to tell the set up šŸ™‚

So, I do what any good 21st century writer would do… I google story plot ideas. I came across a Plot Scenario Generator, not a bad start. It gives me the suggestion “The story starts when your protagonist tries to pay off debt.”… hm, I could work with that. Then it adds “Another character is an incredibly attractive person who is fluent in six languages.”… not sure what I can do with that one thought. But that pay off debt idea has potential, I will have to think on it.

I was hoping to write something science fiction, so I add “science fiction” to my google search and come across another Generator. This one seems to be geared toward sci-fi plots, let’s see what master piece story worthy of a Hugo it will magically give me… “The story is about a watchful gambler who is in debt to a philanthropist. It starts in a small nation on a war-torn planet. A major element of this story is technology being used by an elite few.”. Ok, again with the debt angle, I am starting to think someone is trying to tell me something… did Dave Ramsey write these generators?

But let me think about this, I could use the angle of tech being used by an elite few, not sure about owing a philanthropist, but there may be a story idea here after all. Who would have thought a google search and a plot generator could give inspiration.

Well, if this does not work I will need another plan. So let me know your favorite way to come up with a story plot. Do you use generators or google searches? Would you?

Once I write this short story I will share it with you all and ask for your opinion, let’s see if this experiment works.

Until next time…


12 thoughts on “Where to start?

  1. I use google to search for writing prompts, or blogs that host contests or themes to go off of. I have never used a generator, didn’t even know they existed, but I will look into it definitely.

    Question for you:
    How do you keep up your motivation for writing a story, book, etc.?

    1. Thanks for stopping by msperfectpatty. I have to confess, I am new to writing, as far attempting to tell a well thought out and coherent story. So far I have not had a lack of motivation to write, my problem is an abundance of distractions that I need to reduce.

      Once I get a story idea I have no problem seeing it finished because I want to get the story in my head on to paper. Thinking it out, I would have to say my wife and kids are a big motivation factor for me. When they read one of my stories and enjoy it, that is a real joy for me, and who among us is not a joy-aholic?

      Good question… I think I see a blog post coming about that one šŸ™‚

  2. I find a lot of inspiration in the Adoptables thread on the NaNo site. Lots of good plots, lines, etc to get the creativeness flowing. šŸ˜€ I usually just read the threads until inspiration hits. I may or may not actually use whatever it was that inspired it, but something there almost always triggers another idea in my head.

    1. I have browsed those also, good source. Question on that. If I use an adoptable in a story, do I give credit to the poster in my story? Is there a legal or moral obligation?

      1. No. They are up for adoption, and sometimes the poster will ask that you share what you did with it, but it’s not required. Here’s a quote from the forum mod on that (and you can see the whole post here http://nanowrimo.org/en/forums/adoption-society/threads/109453 ):

        “”Please note that ALL adoptables posted here are considered to be given for free, no strings attached, to be used as those who adopt them see fit. Once you post, you are accepting that others may use and abuse your idea as they see fit.

        Any number of people may adopt a single idea, and no one who posts here may determine how their adoptable ideas may be used. Once offered, they are considered public domain! If you do not agree to these terms, please do not post your ideas here to be shared.””

        Hope that clears it up! šŸ™‚

  3. I really admire you, as flash fiction is quite difficult. I have a very hard time keeping one post at 1000 words, much less an actual story. These are good for sharpening us as writers so perhaps I will give it a whirl! Thanks

    1. Well, the plan to write this story as a flash/short fiction has failed, looks to be closer to 20k words šŸ˜¦

      I do have a flash fiction of 800 words currently submitted and I hope to post it here soon, and yes… it was hard to write a story with so few words. It is a good exercise to try sometimes.

      Thank you for stopping by.

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