Have you ever watched a movie and come up with a new story based on part of a scene? Or built a romance in your mind that takes place at your school? Or created a cool background for the stranger jogging down the street?
If so, I won't be surprised to hear that you, like me, end up with thirty-plus novels in your head and ten or more written from beginning to end. If not, here are three tips to help you come up with your own ideas:
1) Create a scenario for someone in your surroundings
Every story has conflict. Every main character faces trials. As you watch this stranger out jogging, imagine the exercise is her escape. Her escape from what? Her parents' quarrels? A possessive boyfriend whose warnings signs she hasn't yet fully recognized? Worry about what her best friend will say if she shares a certain secret with her?
Keep asking questions. If you pick that last option from above, what is the secret? A superpower? A famous pop star hiding from the paparazzi in her home because he is friends with her dad? The discovery that the uncle she knows is not the brother her mom grew up with?
Which of those scenarios would you like to read about? Which would you like to write? Decide on something that interests you.
2) Take a scene that intrigues you and make it your own
Think about a book you read or a movie you watched. What was your favorite scene? Take that scene, pick elements you like from it, and create a story that uses them. For example, I love one of Traci Hunter Abramson's scenes in which the good guys and the bad guys face off in a toy store and use the merchandise as weapons. I could use the humor from this in a book of my own. Rather than good guys and bad guys, my characters might be two children's gangs, or a brother and a sister, or an employee and her love interest whose visit in the store turns into a toy-throwing incident.
Again, which of these scenarios would you like to read? Which would you like to write?
3) Keep a notebook of ideas
Keep a notebook or file on things you come up with that you might want to use in a story: Funny jokes, breathtaking descriptions, cute lines, scenes you create from scratch or change to make your own.
Read through your growing notebook every now and then. Is there any way you can combine at least a couple of your scenes into one story? If so, you now have a more complete plot to work with. See if you can come up with the rest of the story and create a full novel from there.
I hope my three ideas are helpful to you. If you have other ideas to share, please comment below and help your fellow writers.