10 Short Story Ideas

This is a reblog type thing which basically means I copy and pasted it, anyway, hope you like it, wait, why am I even saying this, I didn’t even write it. Okay, this time for reals, enjoy!

10 Short Story Ideas

Most writers have too many short story ideas, not too few. However, therein lies the problem, because the more ideas you have, the harder it can be to choose the best one.

10 Short Story Ideas

Here’s my advice: If you’re in the mood to begin a new short story, stop trying to find the best short story idea. In an interview with Rolling Stone, George R.R. Martin said, “Ideas are cheap. I have more ideas now than I could ever write up. To my mind, it’s the execution that is all-important.”

The best short story idea in the world won’t help you if you don’t write it, and a mediocre idea can be made into an award winning story if it’s written well. Stop worrying about finding the best idea and choose one that’s good enough (or even an idea you’ve already started). Your goal isn’t to have the best ideas, it’s to have the best short stories.

That’s why this list is so short. Some websites give 44 story ideas, 100 ideas, or even 1,000, and while that can be fun, it kind of defeats the purpose. More ideas won’t help you if you don’t write them, and they might just distract you from your true purpose.

Short Story Challenge

In Let’s Write a Short Story, we have a quote from Ray Bradbury, who said:

What if you committed to writing one short story per week? Or one poem/chapter of your novel/scene in your screenplay per week? How would developing a writing habit transform your life?

In Becoming Writer, the community of writers I lead, we challenge people to write one finished piece per week. And writers tell me how much this simple writing practice has transformed their lives.

“My writing has grown by leaps and bounds,” says MC D’alton.

“The difference in my writing in a year is amazing,” says Debra Lobel, who committed to this challenge a year ago. “My stories flow better, grammar and punctuation errors are way down, and I enjoy writing so much more.”

“In my first six months… I have written my first novel ever for middle schooler, 9 to 12-year-old children’s genre,” say Wendy Pearson, who finished her novel last year after committing to writing weekly, and is now at work on her second.

“I wrote my first short story and submitted it into a contest and have seen it published!” says Megan Veilette, who just committed to this challenge.

“I just finished the first draft of a novel,” says Tina Seward.

This is the power of committing to a weekly writing habit. Are you ready to start yours?

Short Story Ideas

With that in mind, why not use these ten short story ideas to write your first ten stories, one per week, over the next ten weeks? I promise you, you’re life will look totally different if you do it.

Here are the short story ideas:

1. Tell the story of a scar, whether a physical scar or emotional one.

To be a writer, said Stephen King, “The only requirement is the ability to remember every scar.”

Good writers don’t cover up their wounds, they glorify them. Think for a few moments about a moment in your life when you were wounded, whether physically or emotionally. Then, write a story, true or fictional, involving that wound.

2. Your character discovers a dead body OR witnesses a death.

In 2011, 20 short stories were published in Best American Short Stories. Half of them involved a character dying. That same year, all 13 of the novels shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize involved the theme of death.

Think about your favorite films or novels. How many of them either show a character die or have the character’s dealing with the death of another.

Write about death

Good writers don’t turn away from death, which is, after all, theuniversal human experience. Instead, they look it directly into it’s dark face and describe what they see on the page.

3. Your character is orphaned.

Pop quiz: What do Harry Potter, Superman, Cosette from Les Miserables, Bambi, David Copperfield, Frodo Baggins, Tom Sawyer, Santiago fromThe Alchemist, Arya Stark, and Ram Mohammed Thomas from Slumdog Millionaire have in common? Beside the fact that they are characters in some of the bestselling stories of all time?

They’re all orphans.

Writers love orphans, and statistically they appear in stories far more often than in the world. Orphans are uniquely vulnerable, and as such, they have the most potential for growth. It’s time for you to write a story about one.

Read more about why you should be writing stories about orphans here.

4. Your character discovers a ghost.

One more pop quiz: What do Edgar Allen Poe, Ron Weasley, King Saul from the Bible, Odysseus, and Ebeneezer Scrooge have in common?

Each of these characters* from literary classics saw ghosts!

Even if you don’t believe in ghosts, they make great stories. Have your character find one.

Need more reasons to write about ghosts? Check out our article, 3 reasons to write about ghosts.

*Edgar Allen Poe was not exactly a character, but he was the narrator of “The Raven.”

5. Your character’s relationship ends.

Whether it’s a friendship or a romantic relationship or even the relationship between a parent and his or her child, write about the end of a character’s relationship.

As you write, be sure to keep this in mind:

“Every story has an end, but in life every ending is just a new beginning,” says Dakota Fanning’s character in Uptown Girls.

While it might feel like you’re writing an ending, remember that this end is the opportunity for a new beginning, both for your character andyour story.

More Short Story Ideas

Ready to get writing? Get our workbook 15 Days to Write and Submit a Short Story for a step-by-step guide through the process.

6. Your character’s deepest fear is holding his or her relationship OR career back.

“Why bats, Master Wayne?” asks Alfred in Batman Begins.

“Bats frighten me,” Bruce answers. “It’s time my enemies shared my dread.”

We all have pieces of ourselves we’re trying to hide. You do, and so do the characters in your short stories. However, your characters’ secret fears and insecurities are actually the source of their power. Dive into them and you’ll unlock a captivating story.

For more, read our article When You Don’t Know What to Write, Write About Your Insecurities.

7. A character living in poverty comes into an unexpected fortune.

This storyline is one of the seven basic plots, and it describes the plot of some of our favorites stories, including Cinderella, AladdinGreat Expectations, several of the parables of Jesus, and even Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

However, not all fortunes are good. As Tolstoy’s short story How Much Land Does a Man Need? and John Steinbeck’s novella The Pearl illustrate, sometimes discovering a fortune will destroy your life.

8. A character unexpectedly bumps into his or her soulmate, literally.

In film, it’s called the meet cute, when the hero bumps into the heroine in the hallway, knocking her books to the floor, and forcing them into conversation. In another story, they meet on a bus and her broach gets stuck on his coat. In another, they both reach for the last pair of gloves at the department store.

What happens next is an awkward, endearing conversation between the future lovers.

First, setup the collision. Then, let us see how they handle it.

9. Your character is on a journey. However, they are interrupted by a natural disaster OR an accident.

This is the plot of Gravity, The Odyssey, and Lord of the Rings. It’s fun because who hasn’t been longing to get to a destination only to be delayed by something unexpected.

10. Your character runs into the path of a monster.

In Flannery O’Connor’s short story, “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” a family is on a road trip to Florida when they get into an accident beside the hideout of a murderer who had just escaped from prison. What happens next is one of the most famous encounters with a monstrous criminal in short fiction.

Monsters, whether people who do monstrous things or scaly beasts or a monster of a natural disaster, reveal what’s really inside a person. Let your character fall into the path of a monster and see how they handle themselves.

After You Write, Get Feedback

If you want to become a better writer, you need to write. That’s a given. However, you’ll grow even faster if you get feedback on your writing.

After you finish your short story, share it with a friend or join a writing critique group. Feedback is the most important piece of a good writing practice, and you won’t become a great writer without it.

The Becoming Writer Writing ChallengeOne great place to get feedback on your writing is our community,Becoming Writer, where you can share one short story or chapter of your novel each week and get feedback from The Write Practice’s team and other members of the community.

You can learn more about Becoming Writer and get a free eBook, 10 Steps to Becoming a Writer, here:

Learn more about Becoming Writer »

How about you? Do you have any short story ideas?  Share them with us in the comments

section!

 

Anyway, like and stuff, peace out.

 

 

xox Stacy

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One thought on “10 Short Story Ideas

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