How to find a good idea for your story

Write, write and write some more.

Write about what? Everything.

Today’s letter in the A-Z Challenge I. 

I= Ideas

Everyone wants to know where writers find their ideas.


For me, the good ideas come few and far between. They appear with a flash or spark, and if I fail to latch on to them, they are gone just as fast.

Many of my stories come from word-play or prompts. There are lots of writing prompts available and believe it or not they work.

The idea for my first children’s book, Tryouts for Ben, came about because of a comment. Kids do say the darndest things.

And the idea for my second book due out soon came about the same way. As a mother of two amazing girls, we encouraged them to be all they could be. One day I overheard my daughter, telling her daughter she could be anything she wanted.

As a result of that conversation, A Most Reluctant Princess was born.

What have I learned from y’all about finding writing ideas?

Story ideas can come from anywhere and everywhere!

  • News story
  • Daydreaming
  • Passing comment
  • Book or movie
  • Memory
  • Prayer
  • Picture, photo, or painting
  • Writing prompt
  • Contest or challenge
  • Dream
  • Sunset or breathtaking view

The list could go on and on, but the trick is to recognize an idea. Often my ideas come in tiny seedlings and requires a lot of nurturing for it to grow. 

The more you write, the more ideas you will find. 

So, you grab an idea but what comes next? 

You add a character, a place, and a theme. Then like playing with Legos, begin to build your idea into a story.

The hard part is taking this tiny idea and enlarging it to appeal to someone other than myself. Not everyone gets my sense of humor or sarcasm. So, if I want others to read what I’ve written, I must broaden the story to reach my target audience.


There is nothing new under the sun. No new ideas. But, you can put a new spin on an old idea. Make it yours.

Where did you find your last idea?

Did that idea turn into a story?

Talk to me, the lights on and comments are now open.

You can find me on Twitter @jeancogdell, Facebook at jean.cogdelland, stop by and say hey! Please remember to click and share this post with your Twitter peeps and Facebook fans.

Want to read more on where other writers find their idea? Click the links below.

The Joy Is In the Struggle of Making: How Writers Get Their Ideas by AARON GILBREATH
Where Do You Get Your Ideas…? by Michael A. Banks
Where Do Successful Authors Get Their Most Brilliant Writing Ideas? by
31 Ways to Find Inspiration for Your Writing By Leo Babauta



11 thoughts on “How to find a good idea for your story

  1. You can train yourself to write based on any idea. This is how comedy improv workshops survive. In fact you might want to see if there is an improv workshop in your area and join one just to see what they do. You might get into it.

    My experiment was to write four Twitter stories, 140 characters, at least three times a week for a year, and to do it I had to simply learn to pull ideas out of the air, as it were: stupid stoners, weird sports, bad teachers, killer housewives, lousy lovers.

    But my I wrote with two comedy teams, Esther’s Follies and the Austin Rodeo Show, and their improv pitching helped a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Considering my theme this month is all about prompts, I love using them as a jumping off point. I’ve got at least two so far that I think would make interesting stories to explore.

    My novel idea came from a random blog post about a historical event, but the majority of my ideas come from dreams. I, usually happily, remember most of my dreams vividly. If I can write them down as soon as I wake, they can make the most interesting ideas to explore.

    Liked by 1 person

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