Sometimes you’re just in the mood for writing something, but nothing springs to mind; or you’re in a writer’s group and the days are running out before your next meeting and you have no clue what you are going to write about.

Here are some thoughts from Lois Elsden:


Where do stories come from? Here are some ideas:

  • an observation of people in the street, on a bus, in a shop, on the beach, walking by a river…
  • people you don’t know but see arguing, kissing, looking at each other, not looking at each other, fighting, smiling secretively
  • an incident you observed or witnessed
  • a scrap of conversation you overheard
  • the lyric of a song, a line from a poem, a phrase from a book
  • an experience you had
  • a strange coincidence
  • a dream or day-dream
  • a traditional story, myth or legend which suggests a modern re-telling
  • another story you read, saw on TV or as a film, which suggests a situation, series of events, characters which you can rework to make your own
  • the ‘what happened next’ of another story
  • a what if… moment
  • a family story – your own family or someone else’s
  • unexplained inspiration
  • a found photo… who are those people? How are they related, why are they there? What is the occasion? What are they really thinking? Who is taking the photo?
  • something you pretend happened to you
  • the story of your house, or a house you once lived in or a house someone in your family once lived in, or just a house you pass by on the street and are intrigued by
  • something you would have liked to happen to you
  • a news item
  • a picture in a gallery, museum, on a wall in a waiting room, in a newspaper or magazine
  • a film or a TV programme
  • a song
  • music
  • doors and windows – what’s behind them?
  • a mystery or puzzle
  • famous people, singers, actors, sports or TV personalities…
  • your own family or friends – maybe disguised

Any of these suggestions or a combination of several of them can trigger a story.

Here’ a link to Lois’s e-books and her recently published paperback, Radwinter:


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