Evergreen Sources of Short Story Idea Generation – Write a Tale Every Day in 2023

Last updated on July 4th, 2023 at 09:11 pm

If you have ready short story ideas, you are very near to writing one. So, always keep your bag of prompts and ideas full. You can then choose a story topic at will and start writing.

And this is the way you can obey Ray Douglas Bradbury, American author and screen writer. Look what he has to say:

Write a short story every week. It’s not possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row.

Ray Douglas Bradbury, American author and screen writer

And I believe you cannot write 365 (or 366?) bad stories at a stretch either.

Let’s look at some resources which when searched thoroughly, will always give you some short story ideas with a twist:

Photo by cottonbro studio

1. Old classics

I used to read a lot of old classics in my childhood, like ‘Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea’, ‘Moby-Dick’, ‘Three Musketeers’, ‘Oliver Twist’ etc. Whenever I think about the characters and events of these old classics, many short story ideas start taking shape in my mind’s eye.

2. Great voyages

I think most children read or at least know about the book ‘Seven Voyages of Sindbad, the Sailor’. The expeditions are full of weird animals, magical incidents, nail biting confrontations and queer events. Imagine deep into the tale and pick some goosebumps story ideas. So? Any other voyages?

3. Myths heard from elderly people

Do your grandparents and parents tell you about some beliefs or stories that sound shocking and indescribable? Let them be true or false or whatever. But such things are of great value to you, the short story writer.

4. Great wars of history

Wars may be bad, but some top thriller novels are related to wars only. I recently read a touching story of how an old widow saved the life of a soldier of a defeated army. I think a good writer should read as many war stories as he can.

5. Nostalgia

When we rove about in the memory lanes, we realize that life is but a series of short stories stitched together. Pick one at a time and serve to your readers.

6. Gossips on celebrity life

A general court case would not have intrigued anyone but when there was recently a verdict by Madhya Pradesh HC on Ekta Kapoor, the Indian star TV and Film producer, it drew mind blogging attention from all around. Things get amplified a thousand times when touched by the fame game in celebrity circles.

So, how does it help a short story writer? Where there is hue and cry, there emerge interesting stories to read. You just need to grab good short story ideas and sit down to write.

7. Haunted places

Once I read about the haunted spots of Brussels and went on to write short stories depending on the buildings, clubs and amusement centers mentioned therein. So, I tell you, be a good listener when someone is talking about such legends.

8. Diseases and recoveries

Did you write any story with the settings of Covid playing in the background? My father told me a true story of an English doctor who died of cholera while treating patients during cholera outbreak in pre-independence India. Such a deed of benevolence can be a fertile source of some motivational short story ideas.

9. Recession/ ups and downs in economy

Touching tales emerge when recession hits an economy. I cannot forget the scenes of people sleeping in the open during the 2008 slow-down. You can fuel yourself more and more by reading about such events during the economic fluctuations.

10. Natural calamities/ disasters

These are real generators of short story ideas. Read what happened to farmers, factory workers, teachers and other working classes during a famine. Did their unions help during those bad days of food and job crisis? Did the rich survive? Did they help the poor?

Find out events relating to these questions and hundreds of love stories, hate stories and stories for kids as well as grown-ups will sprout spontaneously.

11. Crime – thefts, robberies

People hate crime and criminals. They also fear them. But hate and fear are very good sources of stories. Though in general I do not recommend reading negative news, I believe writers must read them to have their quiver of story writing topics full.

12. Dreams

What do I say about this? Dreams are nothing but visuals of short stories playing in the mind. You just need to jot them down. Still better if you add some reality from your side.

13. Good luck and bad luck

Good luck and bad luck play hide and seek throughout life. Dissect the life of any person well known to you (may be you too) and conclude how the lady luck behaved with her or him. You will find short story ideas spread all over.

Haven’t You Still Started?

Start soon. You have got to write 365 short stories in the year coming ahead.

As long as short story ideas are concerned, you can generate plenty of them with the techniques discussed above. So, if you want to write one short story daily, create at least 5 short story ideas or prompts every day.

Once your bag of ideas is full, writer’s block will neve haunt you. All the best.

How to Discover New Topics to Write About – 11 Ideas

How do you write a short story every day?

To write a short story every day and that too very easily, you have to have a warehouse of story ideas. So, if you need to write a short story every day, you will need to generate at least 5 ideas a day. This way you will never run out of ideas.

The next step is keep developing the seed ideas in your warehouse. After some time, your store will consist of hundreds of ideas – some raw, some in the process of ripening and others, ready to be written.

How do you generate ideas for short stories?

You can use any, some or all of the following techniques to generate short story ideas:
1.     Recollect the old classics you have read in your childhood. Every situation, character or event therein can be a story starter.
2.     Overhear others’ discussions. You will soon stumble upon some short story ideas.
3.     Find a new story idea by cocktailing two different stories.
4.     Request elders to narrate shocking, true events. Elders have great stories down their sleeves.
5.     Nostalgia provides great story ideas. Move down the memory lane and pick ideas that can be converted into short stories.
6.     There are widespread rumours and hearsays about the haunted places. These are also good story igniters.

What are some short story ideas?

We can find some short story ideas by forming questions, as below:

What – She looked sad and lost. She told her grades had deteriorated. But would an academic event make her so sad? I knew the reason lay in her school bag. What was it?

Where – The police opened his house with a master key and searched the entire house. But the red bag could not be found. Where had the thief hidden it?

Why – I wondered why Naina would go to her step mom’s native place. There was definitely a strong reason.

Who – Nobody else knew about the secret. So, if Mon or Vertika had not committed the crime who else could it be?

When – Bringing the two kids back from across the border now depended solely on her finances. But when will she get the loan?

How – This was the movie we had waited patiently to watch on the big screen. The counter showed ‘SOLD OUT’. Friends kept staring at me. How would I arrange the tickets?

What is the best topic for story writing?

It varies. For one writer, a story idea can be interesting and for another, a different story idea may be more appealing.

However, personal story ideas or the ones which you have known yourself are best to write. This is so because such stories are based on true incidents and are very close to reality.

Recollect an old incident. Add drama to it. Frame an outline and start writing. Attach your own experience or observation to the story in progress. You will end up with a good story.

What are good short story starters?

Some story starters are suggested below:
1.     I had never expected him to help me with such a huge sum of money. “There must be some selfish motive behind it …” I said to myself.
2.     He had returned to his native place after ten long years and even after half an hour he was unable to find a known face…
3.     Including this time, I had met the old lady three times and every time I felt she was somehow connected to my past.
4.     Regular exercise had rid her off all ailments and her skin glowed. Every morning she would look at herself in the mirror and repeat the words of her trainer, “I’m beautiful. I’m awesome. I’m the best.”
5.     When Ragens had completed his jail term and was about to step out of prison after five years, the jailor asked him,” What do you intend to do after you go home?” Ragens looked out. As expected, nobody was there to receive him.