New writers often ask established authors how they get their ideas, and most say that they get inspiration from anywhere and everywhere. I set exercises which may help you, and below are some other ways…

  • Keywords = pick five random words and include them in your story. You can find over 1,000 (together with more than 50 writing tips) on my 365-Day Writer’s Block Workbook (Vol 2). A great way of sourcing your own keywords is to listen to the radio or TV and writing down the words they say that appeal to you… and don’t make them easy ones like ‘the’ or ‘and’!
  • Sentence starts = what they say on the tin. You can start the beginning of the story with them or a later sentence but they’re a great way of kicking off. My 365-Day Writer’s Block Workbook (Vol 1) eBook has over 1,000 of them (plus 50+ writing tips).
  • Monologue = a one-sided conversation. Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads are probably some of the most famous examples.
  • Dialogue only = this is where you literally just write a conversation between two people. No ‘he said’, ‘she said’ or description, just speech and the reader has to be able to keep up. 🙂
  • Single-word prompt = sometimes all it takes is one word to spawn an idea. Sometimes it easy, sometimes hard, but invariably fun.
  • Second-person = some of you will know that I champion. The prompt can be in any style but has to be written in second-person viewpoint.

I wrote a story a day using prompts like these for my 5pm Fiction page. Do take a look as I wrote over 250!

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