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Most teacher of writing will advise their students to write about what they know. Many writers, upon hearing this, will say “but I don’t know about anything interesting!” However, even ordinary events can become extraordinary. The truth is, authors get their ideas from life…everywhere…all around them. To get started, you might think of something that’s happened to you, or someone you know. The event itself might make an interesting human interest story on its’ own, or you might ask yourself “what if?” and then change the event just a little, or add something different to it. The situations are limitless, really, you just need to take a different route…walk down a different path. What if your coworker with the new car robbed a bank to get the money to afford it? What if the shy little girl next door was kidnapped? What if you found out you were adopted and the people you’ve called Mom and Dad all your life are not really your parents? As you can see…all it takes is a little twist to get your imagination working.

Some writers get their ideas from stories in the newspaper. People-watching is another good way to research ideas for a story. Go to a mall or coffee shop and sit and watch people around you and try to imagine what their lives are really like, or what secrets they might be hiding. You might want to keep a journal of ideas, or better yet, carry a paper pad and pen with you at all times to jot down ideas as they come to you. Some writers have gotten their ideas from dreams. Keep a tablet next to your bed to write down as many details as you can possibly remember as soon as you awaken from an interesting dream.

You might want to take a creative writing class or join a group of writers to brainstorm ideas and share writing exercises. There are also hundreds writing classes and writer‘s groups online. Some offer daily “writing prompts” which help get you started. Researching ideas for writing has never been easier, due to the internet, which is a valuable tool for authors.


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