top of page
  • Alex Thompson

8 Ways To Generate Short Story Ideas

It can be pretty tough to come up an idea for your short story, let alone finishing a first draft! The good news is that you don't have to sit around waiting for that elusive inspiration to come and find you. With the Hammond House Literary Competition around the corner, we thought this would be an excellent opportunity to share some of our favourite short story generation techniques.

1. Random Word Generation

Story ideas don't have to come from a muse - they can come from three simple words. Random word generators, such as this one, can be a great way to kickstart your creativity. You can use these three words to come up with a beginning, middle and ending to your story, or to simply jog your creative process.

2. Random Sentence For this one you'll need any old book. You could even use a magazine or newspaper. Flip over to any page and pick a sentence at random. Now, try to turn this sentence into its very own story. Though this technique is a little more challenging than the others, it can be a very fascinating exercise.

3. Pick an Object

It could be a baby's dummy, a pair of funky socks or a pretty necklace. You can use that object to conjure up a story, all centred around that one thing. Perhaps it's something you saw in the street or in your home. Either way, it can help.

4. Hold the Front Page

Have you read the news recently? Perhaps you saw a headline that sparked your interest, one that could fit into the theme of 'precious.' It could be a story from silly season or a genuine headline from a serious paper.

5. Early Memories

The idea of precious is something with a loving meaning. What are your earliest memories? Perhaps choose something personal to you, something from your early life.

6. Twist the Familiar

Hello. Once Upon A Time. My Name is X. All of these are so familiar in stories and are a tale as old as time. Perhaps change that so that these familiar words have a new morning, something fresh and different.

7. Emotional Change

An earthquake strikes at a wedding. A heart attack at a birthday. A woman goes into labour on a flight. Change the emotions to the polar opposite.

8. Picture this

Use a picture. It could be from the internet, a newspaper or any other thing. A picture is worth a thousand words so only two pictures could help!

bottom of page