YOU ARE NOT ALONE – Many writers face challenges when trying to create their next (or first) masterpiece. One of the biggest is coming up with great ideas to write about. In some cases, however, writers have more short story ideas than they know what to do with. While this may appear to be an ideal situation at first, having so many stories floating around in your head can sometimes be more paralyzing than motivating.
If this is you, then you’ve stumbled on the perfect article. This article is power-packed with the best mind-stimulating short story ideas that can help you produce a best seller! Just keep reading…..
15 Short Story Ideas Writers Can Use
Listed below are 15 good short story ideas that you can use to jump-start the writing of your story. Like all story ideas, there is nothing new about these story kernels. What will separate you from other writers is how you take these ideas and make them your own as you write a short story. As famous author George R.R. Martin once said, “ideas are cheap – execution is all that matters.”
With that, have a look at ChatEbooks lists of short story ideas that may help get you started:
1.Physical or Emotional Scars
In the words of Stephen King, “To be a writer, the only requirement is the ability to remember every scar.” The best authors understand the importance of glorifying their scars instead of covering them up. If you are at a loss for short story ideas, find a physical or emotional scar in your history and expand it into a story. I won’t go into the debate about whether writing about past traumas is therapeutic. But I can tell you that this approach to writing has proven helpful (and sometimes profitable) to many writers.
Example: Think about a time a bully embarrassed you in the schoolyard. How did you respond? What did you do in subsequent years to deal with the emotional scars that resulted?
Death is a common theme for short story ideas as old as time itself. Whether it’s magic, myth, or religion, death is a core component of the human experience which is why so many stories tackle death. Death is a concept that intrigues most readers and can take many forms ranging from comedy to drama to tragedy. Good writers don’t turn away from death because they recognize its many possibilities for connecting with an audience.
Example: Imagine your protagonist stumbling upon a dead body or witnessing the death of a friend or loved one. What would they do next? Start from there and see where your story goes.
From Charlotte Bronte’s title character Jane Eyre to Mark Twain’s title character Tom Sawyer to Anne Shirley of L.M. Montgomery’s Anna of the Green Gables to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter in the Harry Potter series, it’s obvious audiences love orphans, or at the very least, they love rooting for them. This is because orphans are usually very vulnerable whether it’s their youth, a lack of allies, their inexperience, or all or more of these factors.
Example: Give your orphan an obstacle that will cause audiences to cheer them on. Write about how they try to overcome in spite of their vulnerability.
You don’t need experience with the supernatural genre to write about ghosts. In fact, lack of experience might help because you’ll have an original take on the spiritual world. Even if you don’t believe in ghosts, they make great short story ideas, whether it’s a malevolent force plaguing one or more characters or a helpful spirit guiding someone in need of help. One important point about supernatural stories is to create a system of rules for your ghostly world and stick to it. Readers who enjoy supernatural tales may not have a problem with you taking your ghost story in a new route as long as you stay within the rules of your universe. For example, if a ghost can’t leave a certain area (such as a home), don’t have them do so later in the story or readers will feel like you’re cheating them.
Example: Create a character that discovers a ghost in his or her home. Explore your character’s reaction and how his or her life changes as a result.
Breakups are very popular short story ideas whether you use one from personal experience or create one from your imagination. Think about a relationship that intrigues you, whether it’s a romantic relationship, friendship, or even one between parent and child. Then construct different ways that each of these types of relationships can be destroyed. Keep in mind, relationships are an integral part of life, with some people viewing a breakup just as devastating as death. Thus, a well-written breakup can engage a number of readers regardless of who the audience is. Also be mindful that breakups can be serious, but there is ample room for comedy as seen with the popularity of romantic comedies in print, TV, and film.
Example: Write about a couple’s breakup. Detail the manner in which the relationship ends. What are the consequences? Describe the potential new beginning and whatever other elements you think may enrich the story.
Fears can range from the seemingly mundane (fear of elevators) to brutally real ones such as a fear of the water after a near-drowning experience. You can captivate readers by showing them how the protagonist turns this fear into their strength and overcomes difficulties in the process. Like physical and emotional scars, a writer may find it therapeutic to write about a deep-rooted fear. Whatever the case, don’t run from it—write about it.
Example: Create a protagonist whose deepest fear has become a stumbling block in their life – be it personal or professional. What sort of obstacles did he/she face and what type of assistance/professional help was sought to overcome.
The plot about a dirt-poor protagonist that suddenly comes into an unexpected fortune is popular among short story ideas and is one of the oldest plots in storytelling. Whether it’s Aladdin, Cinderella, or Harry Potter, rags-to-riches stories can form the basis for an exciting storyline. And like all stories, there is plenty of opportunity to write in a comedic or dramatic vein.
Example: A homeless lady learns that she has inherited millions as the result of a deceased family member. The fortune can either become a boon or a curse, depending on your approach.
8.The Meet Cute
In film, “The Meet Cute” is when the hero or heroine bumps into their soulmate in the most unexpected manner, such as running into them in the hallway or knocking her books to the floor. You can captivate readers by executing your own take on “The Meet Cute”. Spin a tale that lets the readers experience the endearing conversation that follows between these future lovers. Most “The Meet Cute” tales feature many ups and downs in the budding relationship. But don’t feel as if you must follow a formula. Readers like to be surprised. This type of story offers many opportunities to keep your readers guessing when and if the two individuals will fall in love.
Example: Your characters collide into each other at the hospital in a dash to visit their kids who have both been in an accident. A relationship develops as they console each other through their child’s near-death experience. Medical tests later reveals that one of the character’s child caused the accident as a result of being drunk. Does the newly developed relationship stand a chance?
Bugs Bunny fans will likely recall Warner Brothers’ beloved animated rabbit often beginning his latest adventure by taking a run turn at Albuquerque. The unexpected detour can lead to many storytelling possibilities. This type of story often features protagonists on an important journey only to find themselves waylaid by an accident or even a natural disaster. This plot has been used in a number of tales including Gravity, The Odyssey and The Lord of the Rings. Remember a detour doesn’t have to involve an important journey, but the unexpected turn can lead to equally dramatic results as a protagonist finds themselves lost with no one to turn to for help.
Example: In route to a family engagement, your character stops at the home of her favorite movie star to snap a photo. After climbing the fence for a better view, she falls over and is left stranded with no way out. What happens next?
Monsters and psychopaths are often used a means of character development. You can use frightening encounters to reveal what lies inside each of your characters in light of their dangerous situation. These situations can feature drama between your characters and the monster(s) as well as drama between the characters themselves as they argue about how to survive.
Example: Your protagonists run straight into the path of monsters, finding their lives in jeopardy. These monsters can be real such as a serial killer, or something nightmarish such as a dragon or a vampire. Show your readers how the characters react and the manner in which they handle the situation.
Like the sudden fortune story, the tale of a seemingly great deal offers many ways to entertain your readers. Draw in your readers by suggesting there may be dangers to the deal and that the protagonist may find themselves in over their heads.
Example: Start by having your protagonist stumble upon what seems to be a great deal, be it a money-making scheme or a new job offer. Follow up by having them brag about it to all their friends, creating happiness and/or jealousy from the friends. Once you’ve done that, let the protagonist uncover some things about the deal that makes it seem too good to be true. Will your protagonist be able to back out of the deal and if so, how will it affect them, particularly if they’ve alienated others by boasting about their seemingly great accomplishment.
Everyone is looking for an ideal roommate. And readers who have lived with a roommate know how frustrating it can be dealing with someone’s idiosyncrasies. These annoying habits can range from eating all their food or not cleaning up after themselves. Your story can be comedic such as The Odd Couple or take a sinister turn like Single White Female.
Example: Imagine your protagonist’s delight when they meet what seems to be the nicest roommate they’ve ever met. However, the roommate soon reveals that he or she is anything but nice. Now your protagonist must find a way out of this situation.
Romantic stories can come in many forms. The more relatable they are to the reader, the more likely they will command their attention. One classic love story is the plot of two friends who have the potential to fall in love. There are many variations on this story. One friend can be in love while the other sees them as a friend, and nothing more. The story of unrequited love can be painful. But it can also offer tremendous character development and introspective into their thoughts and feelings. There are many ideas and variations on this plot.
Example: Two friends meet after a long time, one of whom secretly loves the other. Show these emotions rather than telling. Let your readers figure out the truth using your clues. Develop the story from there and see whether romance blossoms or the would-be lover suffers heartache.
Most people have found some interesting items at a garage sale. There are even stories of people buying something for a few dollars, only to discover it is worth a fortune.
Example: Your protagonist purchases something at a garage sale that turns out to be an object of great value. As your protagonist struggles to unravel the enigma, they realize there are mysterious people seeking the object at any cost. Will these forces be satisfied with retrieving the object or will they want to silence its current owner?
There are millions of ways to frame a short story around natural disasters. Take a real-life natural disaster such as hurricane Katrina. Imagine how many stories of survival exist amongst the thousands of people who lived to tell about it. There were elderly in need of medicine, families stranded on roof tops, and hundreds dying of starvation. A story centered in natural disaster can keep readers engaged whether ending deadly or producing a hero of great courage.
Example: One or more protagonists find themselves caught in an unexpected storm of great power. The storm is deadly and it has caught everyone by surprise. Your protagonist has to find shelter and supplies while navigating the danger around them. Your story can see your protagonist working with others or fighting with others for survival. Throw in an infirm loved one who needs your protagonist’s help and you have a story complication with more potential.
So there you have it! Whether you were already drowning in concepts or searching for one like a needle in a haystack, these great short story ideas should get your writing off to a good start. Now it’s time to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and start writing.