How can I get a really good idea for a short story?

India
September 30, 2008 2:13am CST
I want to write a short story. Sunday Herald is having a short story (fiction) competition, and the first prize is 30K INR. This is only for the residents of Karnataka. Now, I have written short stories in the past. I have never begged for an idea. Great ideas just flashed into my brain from nowhere, and I just had to pen a story. No rough drafts, nothing. Most of these stories were broadcast over All India Radio. So, that is my way of writing a story. If an idea flashes, I write. If an idea doesn't flash, I don't write. Recently, I have been wondering if I need to wait till an "idea flashes." Sometimes entire months pass by without ideas. Sometimes, I get four or five ideas in a month. And sometimes, no idea for two to three years!! So, I have been wondering if you could "consciously" arrange for the "ideas to flash." So, writers, come and help me out. Where do the ideas come from? How can I get an idea for a great piece of fiction at short notice? I have only one month to write this short story, and if I get the right idea, I can write it in just two hours. Cheers and happy mylotting
5 people like this
18 responses
@lilaclady (28236)
• Australia
30 Sep 08
Everyone loves a story with a happy ending, there is a lot of people these days finding their real parents because of better record keeping and new laws allowing information out, you could write a story of a mother finding her los child from many years or maybe you could do a story how mother and child are both looking for each other and find each other through some bazaar way...
• India
1 Oct 08
How cute!! Thanks a lot, my friend!!
30 Sep 08
Hi positiveminded, I write stories as well and poems too but at the moment I have what you called a writers block. When you ask for heilp to write a short story, I just thought about a little boy and his father, a story about their relationship and how the boy grows up, well you can think about the story, so how about that? would it help? Tamara
1 person likes this
• India
1 Oct 08
Story of a little boy and his Dad? Sounds great! I could try to develop something there. :) Thanks!!
1 Oct 08
Hi positiveminded, Try it and if you do, I would love to read it. Tamara
@story15 (111)
• United States
13 Nov 08
You could write short stories from everyday life. For me that would be boring. Dreams are good sources for stories. My brother dared me to write a story in five minutes. That I did. Write something whimsical. Write about something from an animal's point of view. I wrote a short story about a parrot. My brother thought it was funny. Carry a pad of paper with you and when you get an idea write it down.
• India
13 Nov 08
A story in five minutes? How interesting! How long was it? Cheers and thanks for the response. :)
@celticeagle (123096)
• Boise, Idaho
1 Oct 08
Find ideas in the newspaper, on tv, stories you like can you sparks of ideas to us, check this site out as well:shortstoryideas.herb.me.uk/. When an idea hits you writie it down. Start a journal and go back over it periodically and see if anything stims to mind from it.
• India
1 Oct 08
Thanks for that link and the tips. Will surely check it out. :)
@Zephier (73)
• United States
1 Oct 08
What i usually do is get away from all distractions (people) while just listening to some music that i'm in the mood for. Other times i write at night by candlelight under the stars then the words just flow most of the time. It just comes down to getting from what's in the way of letting you write.
1 person likes this
• India
1 Oct 08
Oh, writing at night by candlelight under the stars sounds sooooo romantic. I am sure you will get really great poetry that way. :) Cheers and thanks for the tip.
@subha12 (18452)
• India
30 Sep 08
i think you are quite gifted in writing. so guess it will never be problem for you to get a good idea. hope you can get it soon and write a good one.
1 person likes this
• India
1 Oct 08
Thanks, subha!!
@ajrox1810 (992)
• India
30 Sep 08
Hi, 30,000 Indian Rupees is really an amazing price/prize. Even I would have participated in this competition only if I would be a resident of Karnataka, I am a resident of Rajasthan actually. 1 month is a lot of time for a idea to "Flash" within you since you will take just 2 hours to pen-down the whole story. Now what I am going to write below may be boring but it will help you a lot, believe me. First of all, ask myLotters, Orkutters and local people in your area, which kind of story they like? For example, some may like humour stories, some may like love stories, some may like horror while some would be fond of emotional and heart-touching ones. Select the category that interests most of the people. Now you know which type of story you want to write. The next step is to develop a mentality to write that kind of stories. Like if you are going to write a horror story, then develop a horror mentality, like seeking for a ghost in a tree and all. If you are writing an emotional one, then seek the troubles people face in their life. Then, to get the idea, go for a long walk. Yes, go for a long walk of about 4-5 kilo meters and absorb the surroundings. New ideas will suddenly begin to flash depending on the type of mentality you developed. Make sure you have a pen and paper and jot down those ideas. Finally, come home, write the story and keep polishing it until it has a nice plot, amazing literature and is interesting to read. Write it in such a way that the reader never gets disconnected from it, unlike my Internet connection. This may help. Cheers! & Best of Luck for the competition, hope you win. AJ Rox.
• India
1 Oct 08
These are really great tips, and I can't wait to put them into practice. Thanks a lot. :)
@GreenMoo (11837)
5 Oct 08
People watching is fabulous inspiration. I know you detest shopping, but how about sitting near the shopping centre and just watching the world go by for a while. Imagine lives for the people you see around you, and if you are lucky something will come to you. Good luck!
• India
6 Oct 08
Hi GreenMoo, so lovely to see you again. How is life? And that is a really great idea; thank you! Cheers!
1 person likes this
@GreenMoo (11837)
6 Oct 08
Life is good thankyou, but still no internet I´m afraid, so I´m still not around as much as I´d like to be. good luck with that story. I hope it´s a winner!
• United States
1 Oct 08
I don't know which is worse... having an idea for a story but being unable to write it, or being able to write and not having an idea!!! From the age of 5 to about 7 or 8 years old I had a swing that hung from the cherry tree beside the lilac hedge at my grandmother's farm. I used to sit in my swing and have very profound thoughts about the sky. I always thought they were my own thoughts but I have come to realize the tree was 'talking' to me. I want to write a story about that little girl so badly but the words don't come. I want to see that story written so much that I am willing to give it to somebody else who might be able to write it! Maybe if you wrote it then your story would help me get mine going! Good luck with whatever you write though!
• India
2 Oct 08
A little girls profound thoughts about the sky?? Why, it could make a great story!
• United States
1 Oct 08
Try to meditate. It is a good way to relax and just let your visions come. Look at things that you have done in life. Change the outcome to what it could have been or you wished it could have been. An adventure that you would like to take. These are all ways to write a story. Good luck.
• India
2 Oct 08
Thanks a lot for the tips, shortbunny!!
• United States
1 Oct 08
I am having that same problem with my Creative Writing course. I need to come up with poetry and short stories. The poetry is easy, the short stories are a lot more difficult. I usually just write about things that I go through and see, and I use different names for the people. Paint a picture with the scenes. Describe what you see as you would describe a painting.
• India
2 Oct 08
Hmm, lemme try!! Thanks a lot for the tips. :)
@taface412 (3175)
• United States
30 Sep 08
I forgot what the actual name of this technique is called, but it may help you out. They say to just take a pencil (or rest your fingers on the keyboard-which ever you prefer) and just start writing whatever pops into your head. It doesn't matter if it seems stupid, silly, etc. The fact is after awhile you will start drafting an actual quality piece and sometimes even get more ideas from the starter sentences that could lead to other stories. I have done this several times and came up with some fun stories. Good luck to you.
• India
1 Oct 08
I haven't tried it out so far, but it sounds so interesting. I will try it out at the earliest possible. Thanks for the tip. :)
• China
30 Sep 08
oh my friend ,i feel it is a serious problem .i am a stndent now and my teachers often compulsary our to write something from i went to school until now ,of course i often have nothing to write or have no good idea .if this condition appear ,i often relax myself by playing computer games ,watching tv or go out to looking some interesting things ,i hope you also can do this like me and my advices can help you .
• India
1 Oct 08
LOL! Students' problem, eh? I remember it was really tough to complete assignments as a students. Your tips are just great, thanks!! :)
@Pose123 (21665)
• Canada
30 Sep 08
Hi positivemined, I've always found that I had to be inspired before I could write, it comes from inside you not from another. My only advice would be to relax and let those creative juices flow. Blessings.
• India
1 Oct 08
I was following precisely the same method myself. Thanks for the tip, Pose. :)
@savypat (20245)
• United States
30 Sep 08
Look areound yourself at everyday things, that's what I do, of course I'm not much of a writer. But if you can give a twist to the ordinary you should be able to get a story out of it. Good Luck
• India
1 Oct 08
Yup, that's a great tip. Thanks a lot!! :)
@cher913 (25865)
• Canada
30 Sep 08
there are plenty of great websites on the net that can offer you some great writing prompt ideas so maybe something like that could help you out? other than that, my suggestion to you would be to read, read, read!!
• India
1 Oct 08
Thanks for the tips!!
@paid2write (5202)
30 Sep 08
The only stories I have written came from my dreams. If I could remember dreaming about something, I could sometimes turn it into a short story. There are plenty of interesting true life stories in myLot discussions, why not invent a background to some of the topics you have seen discussed here. You could imagine how the situation came about, what sort of people would have been involved, and how it could be resolved.
• India
1 Oct 08
LOL! I dreamed of getting a marriage proposal from an old man yesterday. Of course, I indignantly refused. I must see if I can make a story out of it. :) Cheers!
@winterose (39898)
• Canada
30 Sep 08
I am afraid to say but your own inspirations will be the best, I could give you my ideas, but that does not me you are interested in them or can write them, that is why it has to come from you based on your own strengths as a writer.
• India
1 Oct 08
Thanks for your input, winterose. :)