From Sarah, With Joy

*Poet * Author * Wanderluster*

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

5 Awesome Places to Find Story Ideas

We all need to fill our creative tanks every once in a while, right? Sometimes we get dry or blocked, and the ideas just don't flow. Here are five places to look when searching for those elusive ideas.

1. National Geographic: Besides just being one of the coolest organizations around, they are a surprisingly awesome place for story ideas. Stories come from people and cultures and histories and that's what National Geographic is all about. Take the studies and explorations from their web and magazine articles and spin off them and flesh them out and you've got a story.

2. Mythology, fairy tales and folklore: These are the Original stories. Every culture has their own folk tales, take the ones from your history and family and use them. Think of how many stories are based directly on Norse or Roman or Greek mythology (Percy Jackson anyone?) but it doesn't have to be direct. Just take them as a bouncing off point. My favorite is D'aulaires book of Greek Myths

3. People watching game: Go to a park or a store or a track or a movie theater or a football stadium (or Disneyland, my favorite people watching place ever) and pick someone and stare at them awkwardly I mean come up with a back story and history and relationships and see what sort of story you can develop around them.

4. Pinterest: Sort of similar to number three, but one of my favorite things in terms of brainstorming is filling up a character Pinterest board and then using the characters I've pulled from all over the web as a starting point. Here's my character board to start you off with a couple ideas.

5. Ask your parents or grandparents to tell you a story from their childhood. Or it's kind of fun to use a site like New Family Search to see where your ancestors were born, where they ended up, and imagine what brought them from one place to the other.

So there's some ideas. What else would you add to this list?

Sarah Allen


  1. A nice lot of sources! Well, there's, which has a wonderful lot of our favourite folk tales and variations. I was researching Snow White for a story I was working on and found that there were versions from Italy to Africa. Cinderella, of course, is everywhere, including a Native American version. I read New Scientist for ideas. There's a web site which lets you into quite a lot of articles without subscribing. I like to people watch, myself, though my tendency is to dress them, mentally, in historical costume. "He'd make a Roman soldier." "She could be an Elizabethan lady" and so on. It sn't only the likes of you and me who do this, BTW. I was reading Laurence Olivier's autobiography and he said that he did it too.

  2. when you get to the ripe old age of 69, which is me, your whole life is a great source of stories!

  3. sometimes a news story will capture my imagination too. I love listening to older people talk about their past. SO much rich stuff there.

  4. Nice ideas. Thanks for the tips.


  5. Wow! I believe your mind never rests. You Pinterest board was a way cool deversion. Thanks.

  6. Sometimes just a rich imagination works well when developing story ideas. Ideas can also be found in our dreams and fantasies that we bring to life on paper. :)


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