No matter who you are or where you come from, you have already had a wealth of life experiences that can provide ideas for some great original stories. (Remember here that we are talking about ideas for fictional stories. Autobiographical, or reflective writing will be covered later.)
Perhaps you have had some exciting stories happen to you in your life. They can always be a good source for ideas. But you don’t need to have been abducted by aliens to have some interesting experiences to draw upon. Quite often the smaller things can be just as good. Of particular interest can be stories of high emotion, such as times when you were very scared, or very happy. Experiences that teach us a valuable lesson in life can also be a very good resource.
And the experiences that inspire us don’t necessarily have to be our own, they can be of other people we know or even just people that we hear about.
Australian author John Marsden says that he got a lot of great ideas from observations he made when working in schools. Once he was teaching some Year 7 girls who created a character out of the shape of the leaves pressing against a window. They called it Max, and it became a running joke with them. Max eventually became an important part of Marsden’s popular novel Out of Time.
Marsden also acknowledges that the main inspiration for his best-selling book So Much to Tell You was the courage of Kay Nesbitt, a Melbourne woman whose face was disfigured by a gunshot wound. Newspapers and other media can be wonderful sources of ideas for your stories. Quite often they are filled with fascinating stories of tragedy, luck, happiness, humour, you name it! And often the most interesting stories are the very short ones hidden away far behind the major headlines. By simply browsing through a newspaper, you can often find seeds for hundreds, maybe thousands of great ideas.
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