How to Come Up With Original Story Ideas – Novel Writing

Sometimes you know that you want to write, but you have no idea what you want to write about. You’re ready to start writing the next great American novel, but every idea you come up with seems like it’s been told before. In today’s blog, I’m going to cover a few different tips that you can use to help come up with an original story idea that you can use to start writing a novel.

There is No Such Thing As An Original Story

The first thing you need to know when you’re looking to create an original story is to know that there is no such thing as an original story. Every story that’s ever been told, has been told. The universe has run out of combinations. You may think you have the most original story ever, but I guarantee you that someone else has told a similar story before. Whether your story is lead by emotion, plot or characters, you have to come to terms with the fact that as you write your story, you may discover another novel similar to yours. Do you know how many times a story similar to Romeo and Juliet had been told? The difference is not the plot, but the way the story is told. So while someone else may have a similar story idea to you, what makes your story stand out is how you chose to tell the story. Now that you know this, we can start diving into how to come up with story ideas.

Take Examples From Life

No one’s life is more original than your own. Do you realize the number of novels I could write about my family? And I wouldn’t even have to make anything up! Real life inspires fiction all the time, so take advantage of it. While I’ve never written specifically about my life, I can see reflections of my life in each of my novels. I use emotions and events from my life to help inspire my story ideas. There is one chapter in my second novel, I am Mercy, that I talk about Heaven and the color yellow. This is a direct correlation to when my grandmother passed away and I sang her the song Yellow by Coldplay on my ukulele. This is just one example of how I’ve used real-life events to inspire my novels.

You can also use your life to inspire the entire plot of your novel, but if you do this I suggest modifying some things to protect you and your family’s privacy. Your readers don’t need to know your book was inspired by your life.

Look at Old Stories With New Eyes

This last tip will probably be the most useful and that’s to look at old stories with new eyes. Going back to the idea that there is no such thing as an original idea, I want you to take a story you love, a story that’s already been told, and see how you can re-tell it. Of course, I’m not saying to copy another author’s idea, but I am saying that you can use a story that’s already been told to get you started on your own story.

Fan-fiction is huge and it’s a way a lot of writers have started. They start by re-telling someone else’s story, but the more they write, the farther it gets away from the original story, so you’d never be able to tell it was fan-ficiton. An example of this is 50 Shades of Grey, an erotica novel that takes place in an office setting. It started off as a fan-fiction for Twilight, a young adult fantasy novel about vampires. Obviously, the two stories have almost no correlation with each other anymore. If you’re struggling with story ideas, maybe try out fan-fiction until you get your juices flowing.

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