The Write Practice

Top 100 Short Story Ideas

by Joe Bunting | 128 comments

Do you want to write but just need a great story idea? Or perhaps you have too many ideas and can’t choose the best one? Well, good news. We’ve got you covered.

Below are one hundred short story ideas for all your favorite genres. You can use them as a book idea, as writing prompts for writing contests , for stories to publish in literary magazines , or just for fun!

Use these 100 story ideas to get your creative writing started now.

Editor’s note: This is a recurring guide, regularly updated with ideas and information.

100 Top Short Story Ideas

If you're in a hurry, here's my 10 best story ideas in brief, or scroll down for the full version.

Top 10 Story Ideas

  • Tell the story of a scar.
  • A group of children discover a dead body.
  • A young prodigy becomes orphaned.
  • A middle-aged woman discovers a ghost.
  • A woman who is deeply in love is crushed when her fiancé breaks up with her.
  • A talented young man's deepest fear is holding his life back. 
  • A poor young boy or girl comes into an unexpected fortune.
  • A shy, young woman unexpectedly bumps into her soulmate.
  • A long journey is interrupted by a disaster.
  • A young couple run into the path of a psychopath.

The Write Structure

Why Creative Writing Prompts Are Helpful

Below, you'll find our best creative writing prompts and plot ideas for every genre, but first, why do we use prompts? Is it just a waste of time, or can they actually help you? Here are three reasons we  love writing prompts at The Write Practice:

1. Practice the Language!

Even for those of us who are native English speakers, we're all on a language journey to go from beginners to skilled writers. To make progress on this language journey, you have to practice, and at The Write Practice, believe it or not, we're really into practice! Creative writing prompts are easy, fun ways to practice.

Use the prompts below to practice your storytelling and use of language. The more you practice, the better of a writer you'll become.

2. When you have no ideas and are stuck.

Sometimes, you want to write, but you can't think up any ideas. You could either just sit there, staring at a blank page, or you could find a few ideas to help you get started. Even better if the list of ideas is curated from our best plot ideas over the last decade that we've been publishing lessons, writing exercises, and prompts.

Use the story ideas below to get your writing started. Then when your creativity is warmed up, you'll start to come up with your own ideas!

3. To develop your own ideas.

Maybe you do have an idea already, but you're not sure it's good. Or maybe you feel like it's just missing some small piece to make it better. By reading other ideas, and incorporating your favorites into your   story, you can fill your plot holes and generate creative ideas of your own.

Use the story ideas below to develop your own ideas.

4. They're fun!

Thousands of writers use the prompts below every month, some at home, some in classrooms, and even a few pros at their writing “office.” Why? Because writing prompts can be fun. They get your creativity started, help you come up with new ideas of your own, and often take your writing in new, unexpected directions.

Use the plot ideas to have more fun with writing!

How to Write a Story

One last thing before we get to the 100 story ideas, let’s talk about how to write a great short story . (Already know how to write a great story? No problem. Just skip down to the ideas below.)

  • First, read stories. If you’ve never read a story, you’re going to have a hard time writing one. Where do you find great stories? There are a lot of places, but check out our list of  46 Literary Magazines  we’ve curated over here .
  • Write your story in a single sitting. Write the first draft of your story in as short a time as possible, and if you’re writing a short story , try to write it in one sitting. Trust me, this works. Everyone hates being interrupted when they’re telling compelling stories. Use that to your advantage and don’t stop writing until you’ve finished telling yours.
  • Read your draft. Read your story through once, without changing anything. This will give you a sense of what work it needs going forward.
  • Write a premise. After reading your first draft, get your head around the main idea behind your story by summarizing your story in a one sentence premise. Your premise should contain four things: a character, a goal, a situation, and a special sauce. Not sure what that means or how to actually do that? Here’s a full premise writing guide .
  • Write, edit, write, and edit. Good writing is rewriting. Use your second draft to fill in the plot holes and cut out the extraneous scenes and characters you discovered when you read the first draft in step #2. Then, polish up your final draft on the next round of edits.
  • Submit! Real writers don’t keep their writing all to themselves. They share it. Submit your story to a literary magazine , an anthology series , enter it into a writing contest , or even share it with a small group of friends. And if it gets rejected, don’t feel bad. You’ll be in good company.

Want to know more? Learn more about how to write a great short story here .

Our 100 Best Short Story Ideas, Plot Ideas, and Creative Writing Prompts

Ready to get writing? Here are our 100 best short story ideas to kickstart your writing. Enjoy!

10 Best General Short Story Ideas

Our first batch of plot ideas are for any kind of story, whether a spy thriller or a memoir of your personal life story. Here are the best story ideas:

  • 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 .”
  • A group of children discover a dead body. Good writers don’t turn away from death, which is, after all, the  universal human experience. Instead, they look it directly into its dark face and describe what they see on the page.
  • A young prodigy becomes orphaned. Orphans are uniquely vulnerable, and as such, they have the most potential for growth.
  • A middle-aged woman discovers a ghost. What do Edgar Allen Poe, Ron Weasley, King Saul from the Bible, Odysseus, and Ebenezer Scrooge have in common? They all encountered ghosts!
  • A woman who is deeply in love is crushed when her fiancé breaks up with her. “In life every ending is just a new beginning,” says Dakota Fanning’s character in Uptown Girls.
  • A talented young man’s deepest fear is holding his life back. Your character’s biggest fear is your story’s secret weapon. Don’t run from it, write about it.
  • A poor young boy or girl comes into an unexpected fortune. Not all fortunes are good. Sometimes discovering a fortune will destroy your life.
  • A shy, young woman unexpectedly bumps into her soulmate (literally bumps into him). In film, this is called the “meet cute,” when the hero bumps into the heroine in the coffee shop or the department store or the hallway, knocking her books to the floor, and forcing them into conversation.
  • A long journey is interrupted by a disaster. Who hasn’t been longing to get to a destination only to be delayed by something unexpected? This is the plot of  Gravity ,  The Odyssey , and even  Lord of the Rings .
  • A young couple run into the path of a psychopath. 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.

Now that you have an idea, learn exactly what to do with it.  Check out my new book The Write Structure which helps writers take their ideas and write books readers love. Click to check out  The Write Structure  here.

More Short Story Ideas Based on Genre

Need more ideas? Here are ideas based on whichever literary genre you write. Use them as character inspiration, to start your own story, or borrow pieces to generate your own ideas. The only rule is, have fun writing!

By the way,  for more story writing tips for each these plot types, check out our full guide to the 10 types of stories here .

10 Thriller Story Ideas

A thriller is any story that “thrills” the reader—i.e., gets adrenaline pumping, the heart racing, and the emotions piqued.

Thrillers come in all shapes and forms, dipping freely into other genres. In other words, expect the unexpected!

Here are a few of my favorite thriller story ideas :

Rosa Rivera-Ortiz is an up-and-coming lawyer in a San Diego firm. Held back by her ethnicity and her gender, she works twice as hard as her colleagues, and she’s as surprised as anyone when she’s requested specifically for a high-profile case. Bron Welty, an A-list actor and action star, has been arrested for the murder of his live-in housekeeper. The cop heading the case is older, ex-military, a veteran of more than one war, and an occasional sufferer of PTSD. Rosa’s hired to defend the movie star; and it seems like an easy win until she uncovers some secrets that not only make her believe her client is guilty, but may be one of the worst serial killers in the past two decades… and he knows she found out .

It’s the Cold War. Sergei, a double-agent for the CIA working in Berlin, is about to retire when he’s given one final mission: he’s been asked to “defect” to the USSR to help find and assassinate a suspected double-agent for the Kremlin. Sergei is highly trusted, and he’s given to understand that this mission is need-to-know only between him and very few superior officers. But as he falls deeper into the folds of the Iron Curtain, he begins to suspect that his superior officer might just be the mole, and the mark Sergei’s been sent to kill is on the cusp of exposing the leak.

It is 1800. A lighthouse on a barren cliff in Canada. Two lighthouse keepers, German immigrants, are alone for the winter and effectively cut off from the rest of the world until the ice thaws. Both Wilhelm and Matthias are settled in for the long haul with warm clothes, canned goods, and matches a-plenty. Then Wilhelm starts hearing voices. His personal belongings disappear from where he’d placed them, only to reappear in strange spots—like the catwalk, or dangling beneath the spiral stair knotted in brown twine. Matthias begs innocence. Little by little, Wilhelm grows convinced that Matthias is trying to convince him (Wilhelm) to kill himself. Is the insanity real, or is this really Matthias’ doing? And if it is real, what will he do to defend himself? There are so many months until the thaw. 

thriller story ideas

20 Mystery Story Ideas

Enjoy a good whodunit? Then you’ll love these mystery story ideas .

Here are a few of my favorites:

Ever hear the phrase, “It is not who fired the shot but who paid for the bullet?” This is a philosophy Tomoe Gozen lives by. Brave and clever, Tomoe follows clues until she learns who ordered the murder: Emperor Antoku himself. But why would the emperor of Japan want to kill a lowly soldier?

Mystery writer Dan Rodriguez takes the subway every day. Every day, nothing happens. He wears earbuds and a hoodie; he’s ignored, and he ignores. Then one evening, on his way home from a stressful meeting with his publisher, Dan is startled out of his funk when a frantic Middle-Eastern man knocks him over at a dead run, then races up the stairs—pursued by several other thugs. The Middle-Eastern man is shot; and Dan discovers a mysterious package in the front pocket of his hoodie. What’s inside, and what does he need to do to survive the answer?

A headless corpse is found in a freshly-dug grave in Arkansas. The local police chief, Arley Socket, has never had to deal with more than missing gas cans and treed cats. His exploration of this weird murder digs up a mystery older than the 100-year-old town of Jericho that harkens all the way back to a European blood-feud.

story ideas

20 Romance Story Ideas

Ready to write a love story? Or perhaps you want to create a subplot with a secondary character? We've got ideas for you!

Hint: When it comes to romance, a sense of humor is always a good idea. Have fun! Here are a few of my favorite love story ideas :

She’s a cop. He’s the owner of a jewelry store. A sudden rash of break-ins brings her to his store over and over and over again, until it becomes obvious that he might be tripping the alarm on purpose—just to see her. That’s illegal—but she’s kind of falling for him, too. Write the moment she realizes she has to do something about this crazy illicit courtship.

Colorado Animal Rescue has never been more challenging than after that zoo caught on fire. Sally Cougar (no jokes on the name, or she’ll kill you) tracks down three missing tiger cubs, only to find they’ve been adopted by millionaire Bryce Champion. Thanks to an antiquated law on the books, he legally has the right to keep them. It’s going to take everything Sally has to get those tiger cubs back.

He’s a museum curator with a fetish for perfection. No one’s ever gotten close to him; how could they? They’re never as perfect as the portraits, the sculptures, the art that never changes. Then one day, an intern is hired on—a young, messy, disorganized intern, whose hair and desk are in a constant state of disarray. The curator is going half-mad with this walking embodiment of chaos; so why can’t the he stand the thought of the intern leaving at the end of their assistantship?

20 romance story ideas

20 Sci-Fi Story Ideas

From the minimum-wage-earning, ancient-artifact-hunting time traveller to the space-exploring, sentient dinosaurs, these sci-fi writing prompts will get you set loose your inner nerd.

Here are a few of my favorite sci-fi ideas :

In a future society, neural implants translate music into physical pleasure, and earphones (“jacking in”) are now the drug of choice. Write either from the perspective of a music addict, OR the Sonforce agent (sonance + enforcer) who has the job of cracking down.

It’s the year 5000. Our planet was wrecked in the great Crisis of 3500, and remaining human civilization survives only in a half dozen giant domed cities. There are two unbreakable rules: strict adherence to Life Quality (recycling doesn’t even begin to cover these laws), and a complete ban on reproduction (only the “worthy” are permitted to create new humans). Write from the perspective of a young woman who just discovered she’s been chosen to reproduce—but she has no interest in being a mother.

So yeah, ancient Egypt really was “all that” after all, and the pyramids turn out to be fully functional spaceships (the limestone was to preserve the electronics hidden inside). Write from the perspective of the tourist exploring the ancient society who accidentally turns one on.

sci-fi story ideas

20 Fantasy Story Ideas

Need a dose of sword-in-the-stone, hero and/or heroine packed coming-of-age glory?  We love fantasy stories!

Here are a few of my favorite fantasy story ideas:

Bored teenaged wizards throwing a graduation celebration.

Uncomfortable wedding preparation between a magic wielding family tree and those more on the Muggle side of things.

A fairy prince who decides to abandon his responsibilities to become a street musician.

Just try to not have fun writing (or even just reading!) these fantasy writing prompts.

fantasy story ideas

The Secret to Choosing the Best Story Idea

Stories, more than any other artistic expression, have the power to make people care. Stories have the ability to change people’s lives.

But to write a great story, a life-changing story, don’t just write about what your characters did, said, and saw. Ask yourself, “Where do I fit in to this story? What is my personal connection to this story?”

Robert Frost said this:

If you can connect your personal story to the story you’re writing, you will not only be more motivated to finish your story, you might just be able to change the lives of your readers.

Next Step: Write Your Best Story

No matter how good your idea, writing a story or a book can be a long difficult process. How do you create an outline, come up with a great plot, and then actually  finish  it?

My new book  The Write Structure  will help. You'll learn how to take your idea and structure a strong plot around it. Then you'll be guided through the exact process I've used to write dozens of short stories and over fifteen books.

You can learn more about   The Write Structure  and get your copy here.

Get The Write Structure here »

Have a great short story idea?  We'd love to hear it. Share it in the comments !

Choose one of these ideas and write a short story in one sitting (aim for 1,000 words or less!). When you're finished, share your story in the practice box below (or our latest writing contest ) for feedback from the community. And if you share, please be sure to comment on a few stories by other writers.

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Joe Bunting

Joe Bunting is an author and the leader of The Write Practice community. He is also the author of the new book Crowdsourcing Paris , a real life adventure story set in France. It was a #1 New Release on Amazon. Follow him on Instagram (@jhbunting).

Want best-seller coaching? Book Joe here.

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✍️ 200+ Short Story Ideas (and How to Come Up With Your Own)

Are you ready to write but don’t know what to write about? Prepare to kick your writing into gear by browsing through our list of 200+ short story ideas. New prompts are added each week, and you can search by genre. But don’t let our categories stop you from putting your own spin on a writing prompt: if you find a short story idea tagged as sci-fi, but you think it would make a great romance plot, run with it! For tips on how to come up with your own story ideas, scroll to the bottom of the page.

We found 539 stories that match your search 🔦

A character who loves reading finds out that their library has just been forbidden from carrying banned books.

A character doesn't know how to break up with their partner, and keeps putting it off until the very moment that the partner bends down on one knee and proposes., subscribe to our prompts newsletter.

Curated writing inspriation delivered to your inbox each week.

One character wants a snake, but their roommate has a phobia. They adopt one anyway.

For years, four characters have met for a monthly card game. write a story in which one character realizes that another is cheating., you visited a psychic for romantic advice. instead, they tell you that your spouse has a secret., a character doesn't know how to ask their parent to stop calling them 2+ times a day., a pair of best friends realize they're two corners of a love triangle — they both have feelings for the same person., top 10 story ideas... just for you.

Want a story idea right away? No problem! Here are our top ten favorite story ideas for you to use:

  • A group of villains go on a team-building retreat.
  • You are granted one wish. But you have to use the wish for someone else.
  • Instead of trying to get a man on the moon, every nation raced to be the first at the very bottom of the ocean.
  • Money really does grow on trees and is heavily regulated by governments.
  • A plane takes off with 81 passengers. It lands with 82.
  • You are home alone watching TV. A character dials a number on their phone. Your phone rings.
  • You open a fortune cookie at a Chinese restaurant. Inside is a handwritten note.
  • A magician, a troll, and a college student walk into a bar.
  • It is the year 3000. The sun starts to flicker.
  • An optimist becomes a pessimist. Why?

Top 10 short story ideas... also for you! 

Everyone who writes short stories out there knows that short stories are different — and not just because they’re, well, shorter. So if you’re seeking a short story idea, we’ve got you. Here are our favorite bite-sized short story ideas:

  • Turn one of your grandparent's old stories into fiction.
  • A romance told through a series of texts.
  • Two people are playing chess. One person can read minds, the other person can see the future.
  • Write a story that draws from a moment in your life where you wish you'd made a different choice. Have your protagonist make that choice, and then see what happens.
  • Amazon has invented time travel and introduced pre-emptive shipping. Today, you receive something completely unexpected from your future self.
  • Write about the way the sunset looks from the perspective of two characters. One is sad, the other is happy.
  • A wand-maker goes to the forest ready to work, only to find a group of environmentalists camped out in front of their favorite hemlock tree.
  • Pick a genre and then write about a long walk home after school.
  • The last person on earth celebrates their own birthday.
  • A team of scientists have successfully teleported an apple. It reappears with a bite taken out of it.

How to come up with short story ideas yourself

We get it: writing prompts are an excellent resource, but you want to know how to come up with your own story ideas, maybe even ideas for a book -length project. Here are four of our go-to tricks when thinking of interesting things to write about.

1) People-watch:  Hands down, this our favourite way to come up with story ideas. All stories, even ones about robots or plants, have some element of humanity at its core. There are therefore a countless number of stories to be found by observing human nature. 90% of the prompts included in our  writing prompts newsletter  are inspired by simply staring out a window and watching people go by.

2) Forget what you already know:  Have you ever become trapped in a “but why?” loop with a child? It’s enough to make your head spin or an existential crisis occur. But if you can return to this sense of curiosity and wondering you had as a child, you can find a treasure trove of short story ideas to be found. Take in your surroundings and ask yourself  why  things are the way they are.  What if  they were different?  What  would that look like and  how  would it work?

3) Use your day job:  If you feel like you have the most interesting job on the planet, well, perfect! It shouldn’t be hard to use it as plot-fodder for a great short story. On the other hand, if you find yourself yawning a lot at work, ask yourself:  What could happen to make this work day interesting?  Let’s say you work as a receptionist but your real passion lies with art. Write a story about a receptionist who sees a colleague hang a new piece of art in their cubicle — one the receptionist recognizes as being famous for going missing a century ago.

4) Read:  Imagine walking up to a piano and trying to make beautiful music without ever having heard it played before. You need to consume great short stories in order to know what you enjoy about them. Figure out what you like, and you’ll be on the path to great writing topics.

Ready to start submitting your short story to writing contests? Find the right one for you in our  list of writing contests .

Looking for writing tips? Sign up for our free course:  How to Craft a Killer Short Story .

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good things to write a story about

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44 Short Story Ideas

Story ideas - 3 elements.

  • A stolen ring, fear of spiders, and a sinister stranger.
  • A taxi, an old enemy, and Valentine's Day.
  • Identical twins, a party invitation, and a locked closet.
  • A broken wristwatch, peppermints, and a hug that goes too far.
  • Aerobics, a secret diary, and something unpleasant under the bed.
  • An ex-boyfriend, a pair of binoculars, and a good-luck charm.
  • An annoying boss, a bikini, and a fake illness.
  • The first day of school, a love note, and a recipe with a significant mistake.
  • A horoscope, makeup, and a missing tooth.
  • A campfire, a scream, and a small lie that gets bigger and bigger.

More short story ideas

  • A babysitter is snooping around her employer's house and finds a disturbing photograph...
  • At a Chinese restaurant, your character opens his fortune cookie and reads the following message: "Your life is in danger. Say nothing to anyone. You must leave the city immediately and never return. Repeat: say nothing."...
  • Your character's boss invites her and her husband to dinner. Your character wants to make a good impression, but her husband has a tendency to drink too much and say exactly what's on his mind...
  • It's your character's first day at a new school. He or she wants to get a fresh start, develop a new identity. But in his or her homeroom, your character encounters a kid he or she knows from summer camp...
  • Your character has to tell his parents that he's getting a divorce. He knows his parents will take his wife's side, and he is right...
  • At the airport, a stranger offers your character money to carry a mysterious package onto the plane. The stranger assures your character that it's nothing illegal and points out that it has already been through the security check. Your character has serious doubts, but needs the money, and therefore agrees...
  • Your character suspects her husband is having an affair and decides to spy on him. What she discovers is not what she was expecting...
  • A man elbows your character in a crowd. After he is gone, she discovers her cell phone is too. She calls her own number, and the man answers. She explains that the cell phone has personal information on it and asks the man to send it back to her. He hangs up. Instead of going to the police, your character decides to take matters into her own hands...
  • After your character loses his job, he is home during the day. That's how he discovers that his teenage son has a small marijuana plantation behind the garage. Your character confronts his son, who, instead of acting repentant, explains to your character exactly how much money he is making from the marijuana and tries to persuade your character to join in the business...
  • At a garage sale, your character buys an antique urn which she thinks will look nice decorating her bookcase. But when she gets home, she realizes there are someone's ashes in it....

Even more short story ideas

  • Your character starts receiving flowers and anonymous gifts. She doesn't know who is sending them. Her husband is suspicious, and the gifts begin to get stranger....
  • A missionary visits your character's house and attempts to convert her to his religion. Your character is trying to get rid of him just as storm warning sirens go off. Your character feels she can't send the missionary out into the storm, so she lets him come down into her basement with her. This is going to be a long storm....
  • Your character is caught shoplifting. The shop owner says that she won't call the police in exchange for a personal favor....
  • Your character is visiting his parents over a holiday. He is returning some books to the library for his mother and is startled to notice that the librarian looks exactly like him, only about thirty years older. He immediately begins to suspect that his mother had an affair at one time and the librarian is his real father...
  • Your character picks up a hitch-hiker on her way home from work. The hitch-hiker tries to persuade your character to leave everything and drive her across the country...
  • Your character has to sell the house where she grew up. A potential buyer comes to look at it and begins to talk about all of the changes she would make to the place. This upsets your character, who decides she wants to find a buyer who will leave everything the way it has always been....
  • A bat gets in the house. Your character's husband becomes hysterical, frightened that it might be rabid. In his panic, he ends up shutting the bat in a room with your character while he calls an exterminator from a safe place in the house. His behavior makes your character see her husband in a new way....
  • Your character changes jobs in order to have more time with his family. But his family doesn't seem interested in having him around...
  • Your character develops the idea that she can hear the voices of the dead on a certain radio channel. She decides to take advantage of this channel to find answers to some questions that are bothering her about her dead parents....
  • Your character's dream is to be a professional dancer. At a party, she mentions this dream to a stranger, who says that he has contacts in the dance world and gets her an audition for a prestigious dance troupe. One problem: your character doesn't know how to dance. Your character decides to accept the audition anyway and look for a solution....

And still more short story ideas

  • Your character thinks her boss is looking for an excuse to fire her. She decides to fight back....
  • Your character goes out for dinner on a date and becomes attracted to the waiter or waitress....
  • Your character notices that a stranger is following her. She pretends not to notice. The stranger follows her home and watches her go inside. Then when he leaves, your character turns the tables and starts to follow him....
  • A child moves into a new house and finds out that the other kids in town think it's haunted. She begins to invent ghost stories to tell at school in order to get attention. But the more stories she tells, the more frightened she becomes of the house...
  • Your elderly character escapes from the retirement home where his or her children have placed him or her....
  • Your character gets cosmetic surgery in an attempt to make her boyfriend love her more. But then she worries he only loves her for her looks....
  • Your character is a writer. But his new neighbors are so noisy that he can neither work nor sleep. He decides to take action....
  • Your character's mother-in-law comes to visit for a week, and your character suspects she is trying to poison him. He shares his suspicion with his wife, who says he's always hated her mother but this accusation is going too far. Meanwhile, your character has stomach cramps, and his mother-in-law is downstairs making breakfast again....
  • It's a freezing cold night. Your character finds a homeless family on his doorstep and invites them into his home to sleep. But in the morning, the family doesn't leave....
  • Your character has recently married a man with two teenage children. The children resent her, and she tries to avoid them altogether. Then her new husband (their father) disappears suddenly, leaving only a short good-bye note....

Story ideas: personal creative writing challenges

  • Make a list of five things you're afraid of happening to you. Then write a story in which one of them happens to your character..
  • Think of a big problem that one of your friends had to face. Then write a story in which your character battles with that problem..
  • What is one of your bad habits? Invent a character who has the bad habit, but a much worse case of it than you have. Write a story where this habit gets your character into trouble.
  • What is one of your greatest strengths? Invent a character who doesn't have this strength. Create a situation in which having this strength is very important for your character. What does your character do? Write the story.

good things to write a story about

Photo credit: Pascal van de Vendel

Keep the short story ideas flowing

  • Looking for more detailed short story ideas? Find them here .
  • Use our free worksheet to develop your story plot.
  • Our online writing course Irresistible Fiction will show you how to write stories people can't put down.
  • Click here for a list of CWN pages with creative writing prompts and short story ideas.

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E.M. Welsh

Writer + Storyteller

365 Story Ideas

Whether you're in a writing rut, need an idea for a new medium, or are tired of making excuses about finding the best story idea, this list of 365 story ideas makes it easy to find an idea that works for you and get inspired!


Almost all of these story ideas are interchangeable between different mediums. However, should you decide to take a novel idea and write it as a play, be sure to use my Storytelling System ebook and other resources to ensure you're making the appropriate changes for the new medium.

81 Novel Story Ideas

  • A character believes she has committed a crime someone else knows she is innocent of.
  • A hair stylist overhears something she shouldn't while cutting hair.
  • A character wakes up knowing a new language, but forgets their mother tongue.
  • A sailor banished to a year-long journey to atone for his crimes must reconcile with what he's done.
  • A character buys a new coat, only to find a mysterious message sewn into the lining of it.
  • A character falls asleep on an abandoned ship and awakes on a new planet.
  • A family dynasty threatens to fall apart when an illegitimate child steps into the picture with a list of demands.
  • A character is sold the "Best Year of Their Life" by an illustrious company, with the caveat that they must die afterward.
  • A museum security guard witnesses someone stealing a painting, but lies about it.
  • Two villages compete to have the best technology in the country.
  • An elderly woman falls madly in love with a young boy and seduces him.
  • An adopted child starts to receive tens of letters from people who claim they're her parents.
  • A character's twin sibling dies, and the twin attempts to fill their shoes.
  • A run-down city attempts to revitalize the area by introducing a monarchy.
  • An estranged family gets together after ten years after their grandparents go missing.
  • A mermaid lures a character into a life undersea.
  • A middle-class family works to start the first intergalactic newspaper company using all the money in their savings.
  • In the midst of a war, the women of a local town abandon their neighborhood only a week before their husbands and sons return.
  • A lawyer gives up their practice to move across the country with someone half their age.
  • A cheater starts a journal to keep track of their deceit.
  • A woman decides to find and collect all of the dresses her grandmother designed.
  • A parent steals their child’s invention idea and makes a lifelong profit they put into retirement.
  • A character returns to their hometown and realizes they can never leave again.
  • A computer threatens the privacy of a major city.
  • A murder causes a town to turn against one another.
  • A dictator forces an illustrious fashion designer to design the new military uniforms for the war.
  • A hermit's caretaker passes away, forcing her to make trips outside to interview a new candidate for the job.
  • A story about an ancient society where gender roles are reversed.
  • A granddaughter attempts to connect with her long-lost grandmother by cooking through the family cookbook.
  • Two separate families become one after a marriage unites them.
  • A character sets out to sail the river from one end of their country to other.
  • A character becomes the mayor of a new town that doesn't accept them.
  • A character discovers they have the ability to visit the past and future, but at the risk that they'll lose something valuable.
  • A Queen must prepare her son to be a proper ruler in his late father’s stead.
  • During the railroad boom, a group of homesteaders tries to keep up with a changing society.
  • A man moves to a rural town to get away from his troubles but trouble keeps finding him.
  • An English billionaire decides to host a series of contests in order to choose a worthy successor.
  • On board a broken down freighter in Alaska, a crew must survive a brutal situation.
  • In a series of weekly sessions, a man recalls his experience of Vietnam to overcome his PTSD.
  • In the midst of a plague-ridden Venice, an inspector begins a series of unethical experiments to find a cure.
  • Humans discover a new sentient plant life deep in the rainforests of Brazil.
  • The tales of a family that moved to the United States just before the War of Independence.
  • A girl from India struggles to reconnect with her estranged family.
  • Three strangers win a getaway vacation together
  • A diver uncovers government secrets buried at the bottom of the ocean.
  • A character confronts their illogical but deeply real fear of being sucked down by the bathtub drain.
  • A family takes a cross-country road trip in the aftermath of a nuclear war.
  • A group of orphans attempt to make a home of their own.
  • A woman is called on a mission to save her lover.
  • A scientist develops and sells a medicine that saves lives, but isn't legal.
  • A story about immigrants during the 1920s and their move to the United States.
  • A character attempts to establish a church devoted to the Greek gods.
  • A family struggles to endure a heat wave and draught in the midst of a long summer.
  • A mother manipulates her children into committing felonies on her behalf.
  • A character decides to fail all their classes to make a statement.
  • A town prepares for the election of its first-ever mayer.
  • A character moves to a new town and pretends to be someone they used to know.
  • Two characters fall in love with each other, when they shouldn't.
  • A character finds a journal with half of the pages filled and works to respond to their story.
  • A woman, posing as a priest, is elected to be the new Pope.
  • The CEO of an insurance company deals with the necessary evils of his own trade.
  • A robot becomes self aware in the midst of a war it was purchased to fight.
  • A pawnshop owner faces the internal battle of selling items they know are valuable to others.
  • A police officer confronts a mistake they made and hid while on the job.
  • A hidden society figures out how to reveal itself to the rest of the world.
  • A character attempts to uncover the lore of their village.
  • A character travels back in time, where they realize they are more important than modern day.
  • A daughter sets out to break out her family curse in an unconventional way.
  • A feudal era story in which two long-distance lovers attempt to connect.
  • A character attempts to experience every type of love possible.
  • A scientist uncovers a secret portal that leads to a life changing future.
  • A character is told a deep family secret that they must protect until their death, no matter how much it torments them.
  • A fantasy character kills someone they loathe and must cover up the evidence.
  • A character develops the power to alter their personality, but cannot control it.
  • A group of characters attempt to explain their experiences traveling through a desert.
  • A character looks to escape a life threatening situation in a foreign country.
  • A matriarch deals with a rising male leader threatening her power.
  • A retired couple navigates life in a new country abroad without family.
  • A character confronts their perverted nature and struggles to change.
  • A character lives on the border, across from a society and culture much different from their own.
  • A war hero returns home and attempts to make connections with old friends.

77 Short Story Ideas

  • A brother and sister uncover an old letter from their parents that makes them question everything about their family history.
  • Two schoolkids break a character's window. She must decide how to reprimand them.
  • A robot looks for a new occupation after being tossed into the trash.
  • A character cleans out an old attic and must decide what to throw away and what to keep.
  • A mailman begins to throw away letters a woman has been receiving from her husband.
  • A cat witnesses its owner have an affair.
  • A spaceship lands in a local town, offering the latest technologies from space at a discount price.
  • A character finishes creating the first time travel machine, only to discover it can only move in two-minute increments.
  • A bank robber has an existential crisis in the middle of a robbery.
  • A character becomes obsessed with cleaning their home until it’s 100% clean.
  • A student receives a grade they disagree with.
  • A statue is commissioned that offends half the town population.
  • A group of kids try to sell an alternative to lemonade and must face the neighboring competition.
  • A character tries to convince their friend to become vegan.
  • A nun begins to doubt her commitment to the faith after watch a boy band sing on television.
  • A hypochondriac attempts to write off signs of an illness.
  • A character can't stop crying, but doesn't know why.
  • A lonely character laments the shrinking and soon-to-be-gone pimple on their chin.
  • A young child asks their parents for braces and glasses for the fun of it. They give them to him.
  • A character encounters someone they are sure is famous, and follows them home to make sure.
  • A babysitter takes the kids to the zoo only to discover the giraffes are not out that day.
  • A dog decides to answer to a different name after meeting another dog with the same name.
  • A character who collects dolls notices one is missing from the shelf.
  • A girl prepares for her first day of middle school with a new outfit and make up her mom let her pick out for the first time.
  • Two kids compete in a bug-catching competition for the grand prize.
  • An airplane pilot finds out mid-flight that his wife cheated on him.
  • A young woman makes a desperate offering to a pagan deity.
  • A bank teller deals with a robbery.
  • An old woman tries her hand at cooking for a man again for her first first date in over fifty years.
  • A young woman sorts through her possessions before going off to college.
  • A dog witnesses a murder and struggles to alert the proper authorities.
  • A rich businessman has a sudden mental breakdown during an important meeting.
  • One of Santa's elve puts in his two-week notice at the beginning of December.
  • A character adopts a stray cat off the highway.
  • A character attends an A.A. meeting for the last time.
  • A character attempts to enjoy a quiet day at the beach, without success.
  • A parents realizes they missed Christmas by one day and must fool their children.
  • A character realizes they are a part of a lab experiment in the middle of a test and desires to do nothing but escape.
  • A kid attemps to ignore distractions during church after being promised an ice cream sandwich for good behavior.
  • A coffee barista attempts to repair an order gone terribly wrong.
  • A salesperson struggles to meet their quota for the day.
  • A mutant ghoul looks for a beauty cure-all.
  • A young woman finds the perfect dress only to discover its two sizes two small.
  • A character overhears they’re going to be fired from their job.
  • A character loses something sentimental in the rush of football crowd exiting the stadium.
  • A cook finally finds the perfect ingredient.
  • Two characters engage in a starring contest where the stakes keep rising.
  • A mother uncovered illegal drugs in her daughter’s desk drawer.
  • A kid is tasked with killing their favorite animal on the farm for dinner.
  • A game of flag football goes wrong when the ball is thrown outside of the limits.
  • A character comes to term with being deaf and blind.
  • A hacker competes with another hacker to hack into a website.
  • Two ballerinas carpool to their next lesson together and uncover some surprising information on the way.
  • A student deals with unfair prejudice in an unorthodox way.
  • A kid pets sits their neighbors dog only for it to escape.
  • A space station hears bad news from their home planet and must decide how to react.
  • A character is forced to confront their fear of bugs when they are cornered in a room with one.
  • A construction worker is invited to a politician’s ball.
  • A maid finds a terrible secret room in her employer’s mansion.
  • An old fable from a girl’s youth comes to life.
  • A shoemaker cherishes the last night they'll ever make a shoe before they retire.
  • A character explains what it's like to be physically invisible.
  • A parent works up the courage to explain sex to their kid.
  • An unprepared runner powers through the last mile of their marathon.
  • A character attempts to keep cool in a conversation with the police.
  • A pastor, doubting their faith, starts to go through the motions of a service.
  • A sister brushes her siblings hair when the brush gets tangled and stuck.
  • A librarian encounters an unusual amount of noise at work and must figure out what the commotion is.
  • A man on a business trip rents a child a to be his son for the day.
  • A wetnurse recalls the time she served the then newborn Anti-Christ.
  • The ambassador of a small country spends his final moments of life in conversation with his assassin.
  • A peace treaty becomes a standoff when someone mistakenly makes an offensive gesture towards the other party.
  • A sparrow catalogues it’s day flying through New York City.
  • A woman wakes up after a failed suicide and decides to visit her ex.
  • The president of the United States gives a formal address to a group that he has actively oppressed his entire term.
  • A newly homeless man goes through his first night on the streets.

63 Film Story Ideas

  • A character's home is split in two by a sudden Earthquake. They must work to find a way to the other side, where something valuable is.
  • A character finds lost paint cans from a famous artist.
  • Three friends go on a trip to a foreign country together, only for them each to get lost.
  • A character deeply embedded in a local drug cartel looks for a way out.
  • Three pilgrims set off on a trail, but one of them questions their route.
  • A ghost attempts to befriend a new person living in their home, but can’t stop scaring them.
  • Two characters swear never to fall in love or date. One of them becomes disappointed the other kept their oath.
  • A closed exit road sends a character on a six hour detour road trip.
  • A character participates in a march for a cause they believe in when violence breaks out against the people.
  • A princess is exiled from her country in the midst of a harsh winter.
  • A young students starts a political campaign against her own school.
  • Two incompatible people are sent on a blind date together and decide to get revenge on their friends.
  • A character struggles with their weight after the loss of a family member.
  • An underwater city's infrastructure—and the people who live there—is threatened by an environmental breach that must be resolved in 48-hours.
  • A murder in an apartment complex sets the entire community on edge.
  • After graduating high school, two best friends go on a road trip to discover themselves.
  • A colony on the Moon finds a terrible secret hidden beneath the surface.
  • A flock of Canadian Geese get lost while flying south for the winter.
  • Two detectives investigate a series of related murders spanning a decade.
  • Siblings struggle with their parents’ divorce.
  • A teenager faces a troubling situation when coming out to her religious family.
  • Years after a horrible accident, a woman tries to buy the home her family died in.
  • A boy finds out there is a world inside of his TV.
  • A group of teens investigate rumors of a haunted cabin at the edge of town.
  • A renowned Russian composer is tasked with creating his most difficult piece yet; a symphony for his country’s dreaded dictator.
  • A once noble Lord challenges the legitimacy of a new, ill-intending King.
  • A girl runs away to join the circus two months before graduating High School.
  • A small community puts aside their differences to resist a corporation looking to make some changes to their town.
  • A small-time journalist uncovers a terrible plot spanning several government agencies.
  • A character attempts to redecorate the bedroom of their deceased child.
  • A character discovers a painting of themselves in a new friend's home.
  • A group of friends investigates a haunted lake house.
  • A preteen moves to a major city and finds they miss life in the country.
  • A character loses their voice and must do whatever they can to "find" it again.
  • A character attempts to escape an action movie they’ve realized they’re starring in.
  • A feminine, girly woman attempts to make in the comedy scene.
  • A mail person delivers a package to the local gang and has no choice but to become involved.
  • A jeweler organizes the theft of their most precious stones and jewels.
  • A dragon lays eggs near a small village and abandons them.
  • A teenage girls enters into a beauty pageant with the hopes of failing.
  • A prostitute meets with her family for the first time in 10 years.
  • A group of backpackers get lost in the wilderness of Eastern Europe.
  • Recent high school grads spend one final summer together before going their separate ways.
  • An elderly man moves to a home and realizes it was cursed by the family that lived there previously.
  • A defense attorney takes on his highest profile client yet; the president of the United States.
  • A character takes drugs for the first time and has an awful, traumatizing experience.
  • A character looks for a way to reconnect with a deceased lover.
  • A god attempts to experience the day in the life of a human.
  • A couple attempts to rekindle a romance they know will fail.
  • A psychiatrist befriends one of their patients only to realize it was a fatal mistake.
  • A retired lawyer decides to pick up their practice one more time to help out someone they know is guilty.
  • A village takes shifts guarding the cemetary to hide something.
  • An engineer reacts to a life-threating structural error they created.
  • A demon terrorizes a school and looks for its next target.
  • A botanist gets lost in their greenhouse and must fight for a way out.
  • An enchantress works to give up her powers when a spell goes wrong.
  • A character is captured as a prisoner when protesting a cause they believe in.
  • A child attempts to prevent their parents' divorce.
  • A slacker student finds a new purpose at school.
  • A character struggles to decipher real life from their dreams.
  • A group of boarding school students prepare for another summer back home with their families.
  • A story about the people who built of the American railroads.
  • A mystical spirit looks for a companion.

46 TV Story Ideas

  • A mockumentary comedy series about a fantasy world with werewolves, witches, and other mythical creatures who've just had enough.
  • A science fiction drama series about a hospital on Mars.
  • A mini series about the construction of a home, who built it, who all lived in it, and who eventually destroyed it.
  • A witch struggling to make ends meet starts to read tarot cards and sell crystals as a side hustle.
  • A comedy series about a bus driver and the passengers he deals with daily.
  • A comedy series about life in the fashion industry.
  • A mini-series about the murder of a town's chief investigator and detective.
  • An olympic boxer is out of a job and is reintroduced back into normal civilian life.
  • An international organization fights against human trafficking.
  • A small town woman moves to the big city to follow her dream of being a famed magician.
  • The twelve apostles and their struggles after the death of Jesus.
  • A summer camp youth group in Oregon tries year after year to be the best in the country.
  • A group of fishermen in Maine and their everyday struggle of man versus fish.
  • A mini series about the murder of the town's chief investigator and detective.
  • A comedy series about people's relationship with food and health.
  • A sitcom about a librarian's work life, with each story centered around a different book.
  • A mockumentary about life working on a cruise ship.
  • A drama about a post-apocalyptic society trying to return to their technological past.
  • An anthology series about unknown women leades in history.
  • The chronicles of a cult trying to survive the wrath of the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages.
  • A family of ranchers survive the elements of the Wild West.
  • A dramaedy about a magician trying to stand out amongst their peers.
  • A drama series about a women's mental asylum in the 1960s.
  • A comedy series about a large family living in a two-bedroom apartment, for what they think is "temporary."
  • A sitcom about a secretary who works at a large legal firm.
  • An anthology series about middle class families in different time periods and cultures.
  • A mini series about a group of women investigating the crimes of an unknown serial rapist.
  • A mini series about the various bastards of Genghis Khan.
  • An anthology series about the assassinations of various leaders.
  • A drama series about a haunted village in Poland and the people's struggle to survive.
  • A comedy series about a half-zombie who befriends a human.
  • A dramedy about women trying to make it in multi-level marketing.
  • A comedy series about a dad who becomes a stay-at-home-mom.
  • A mini series about Adam and Eve's temptation from Satan.
  • A comedy series about an immigrant family's move to America.
  • A drama series about a spaceship and its crew set out to discover new galaxies, and the many things they encounter.
  • A dramedy about a separated couple raising their kids under the same rough, waiting for the day they'll all go to college.
  • The chronicles of the people who run an adoption agency in South Chicago.
  • A series about the experiences of an acid trip, and the ways it shapes people's lives before and after.
  • A comedy series about a woman and her many sexual partners.
  • An animated series about life as a werewolfe trying to do good.
  • A meta comedy series in which the characters are aware they are in a television series.
  • A drama series in which a group of children journey through a mystical land in their dreams.
  • A drama series about life in Nairobi.
  • A dramedy about a family of doctors running a business.
  • A mini series about the Salem witch trials.

73 Play Ideas

  • A character attempts to poison someone, only for it to poison themselves instead.
  • A character discovers they have a terminal illness and decides to let people figure it out with a guessing game.
  • A character re-examines their sexual preferences after a divorce.
  • A couple addresses their relationship after the fifth miscarriage they’ve experienced.
  • A soccer team goes out to celebrate their recent victory only to discover their coach paid off the other team.
  • A couple attempts to recreate the day they first met exactly as it occurred.
  • Five generations of a family debate which generation was the most successful at their reunion.
  • A character is accused of adultery the night before their wedding.
  • A parent and child finish building a tree fort together the night before a terrible storm.
  • Two introverts meet at a night club and plan an escape route from their respective friend groups.
  • A nail salon team deals with their relocation to the outskirts of town.
  • A famous saying gets credited to the wrong person, but no one will believe them when they correct people.
  • A character has a yard sale, but struggles to part with every item someone tries to buy.
  • A couple encourages one another to have affairs to test their true love for one another.
  • A church group attempts to induct a new neighbor into their congregation with various offers.
  • A door-to-door salesperson struggles to make ends meet and acts out in a moment of desperation with the next person they talk to.
  • A parent must bury their son before a thunderstorm makes the earth too soft.
  • A daughter confronts her traumatizing relationship with her mother.
  • An asteroid is heading toward Earth; people in a small town figure out how to spend their last day.
  • A man meets his biological son for the first time and attempts to be in his life.
  • A barber shop quartet reunites after a 20 year hiatus.
  • Two married couples go on a trip to a resort in the tropics to fix their broken relationships.
  • Two villains try and out-evil each other, trying to be a hero’s arch nemesis.
  • When the law fails them, a group of townsfolk start a vigilante group to stop crime in their town.
  • A man struggles to return to a normal life after his wife dies.
  • A woman stranded on an island relives her scenes from her past as she struggles to survive.
  • A group of activists are wrongfully imprisoned while protesting in a foreign country.
  • Two hospital patients befriend one another through the screen divider.
  • A model confronts her aging appearance.
  • A suspicious family slips through the cracks of a murder investigation.
  • A village makes preparations for their yearly storm.
  • A president attempts to have a relaxing Sunday evening with their family.
  • A character confronts three alternate realities of their life, and gets to choose one to live in.
  • Russian nobles’ plot to assassinate Rasputin, but he just won’t seem to die.
  • A father and daughter take a hunting trip every year together, but every year they grow farther apart.
  • A pregnant teen faces the reality that her life is going to be much different from her high school peers.
  • Two old friends reconnect in a hot air balloon ride.
  • A department store sales person runs into an old high school classmate who threatens to reveal information that could lose them their job.
  • Three couples spend a night on the town, attempting to outdo one another.
  • A failed actress and an up and coming star have a frank conversation about the acting industry.
  • A mother prepares for an arranged marriage she knows will bring her misery.
  • A rich noble comes to term with their failed investments.
  • A narrator attempts to tell a story about a plain, boring family.
  • A pirate docks their ship on the wrong island, but doesn't tell their sailors.
  • An alcoholic tries to overcome their addiction.
  • A book club meeting becomes chaotic when someone spoils the ending of the story.
  • An archaeologist forges the discovery of an ancient tomb.
  • A taxi drivers deals with a night of various passengers.
  • A roadside assistance technician stops to help a couple with their car, only to be roped into a strange affair.
  • An acting coach attempts to create the greatest theater company around, looking to both the actors and the audience.
  • A musical about the Black Power Movement.
  • Two people receive a mysterious package and must figure out how to open it.
  • A character hosts an auction for the items of a beloved neighbor who has recently passed, to most of the neighborhood's dismay.
  • An instructor attempts to inspire a lackluster aerobics class.
  • A character adjusts to life without one of their limbs.
  • A group of miners get through another day of work.
  • A family moves into a new, safer neighborhood, only to find that their past has followed them.
  • A character confronts three different relationships that are holding them back in life.
  • An interior designer attempts to redecorate a house for a family.
  • A robot adjusts to life with a new family.
  • A character imagines what their life would look like had they made different choices.
  • A hypnotist is lured into a hypnotic sleep by their own work and must fight their way out of it.
  • A midwife deals with another failed delivery.
  • A used car salesman slowly comes to terms with his sexuality.
  • A war Veteran begins to feel the effects of PTSD a decade after her service.
  • After their car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, a group of women spend the rest of their road trip waiting for help.
  • A relaxing space cruise goes awry when the crew finds out they’ve accidentally flown into the outskirts of a black hole.
  • A man finds out the tape worm in his body is beginning to take control of his mind; the other problem- he is too afraid of surgery to remove it.
  • A struggling musician is still trying to achieve his dream at the age of forty-four.
  • A family of farmers is rattled when a family of extra-terrestrials move in next door.
  • A mother and daughter take a trip to their home town in an attempt to save their relationship.
  • A circus clown wakes up one day to find out the circus moved on without him.

25 Video Game Ideas 

  • A character must wander across a desert without becoming bored or dying.
  • A character works to spread the worst rumor in school to the most people possible.
  • A nihilist must endure a bright and joyous environment without becoming positive.
  • A team of firefighters has to work together to put out a series of challenging fires.
  • A fallen knight must avenge the House he once protected.
  • A medic during WWII must save as many lives as possible.
  • As a mad scientist, you create intricate puzzles for others to overcome.
  • As a private detective in Victorian England, you must solve a series of serial murder mysteries.
  • A mermaid gets separated from their family in a hurricane and goes on a mission to find them.
  • A car breaks down in a road trip and you must work to survive the night.
  • A royal family explores their family history by traveling through the past.
  • You wash up on an island and must work to figure out what happened.
  • A Western town is haunted and you must figure out how to get rid of the spirits.
  • You move into a new mansion and start to explore each room.
  • A family living in the jungle is murdered and you, a distant cousin, must exact their revenge.
  • A game in which you must interview people, discovering their personal stories, to find the perfect candidate.
  • As a petty thief in Renaissance Italy you must rise the ranks to become a crime Lord and steal the original Mona Lisa.
  • A game in which you confront the reality of death and its closeness to your life and the life of those you love.
  • As a lost cat you must find your way home by deciding who to trust amongst animals and humans.
  • After spending a summer abroad in Europe, you come home to find your hometown in ruins and must uncover the truth.
  • You and three other players solve a hotel murder mystery together, but the decisions you make change the story and survival of various characters.
  • A wizard must use various means to enchant different settings and people to dominate the kingdom.
  • As a ghost haunting a house, you must figure out ways to scare the families living there enough to make them move out.
  • As a public school superintendent, you must build and get funding to achieve the status of greatest public school district in the world.
  • As a myth hunter, you must hunt down and capture various mythical beings.

365 Story Ideas

Creative Writing Coach and Storyteller | Serving creative writers who want to write novels, movies, plays, and video games – and helping them learn how to write all four.


Hey there—I’m E.M. Welsh and I’m a writer and storyteller based in Texas. In my spare time, you can find me reading books, watching TV and movies, and playing video games. I also cook a lot of food and dabble in a plethora of other hobbies.

I’m currently working on my first book, which I hope to have published in 2024.

This blog is basically a diary of what I’m up to, random musings, and progress updates on my book.

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301 Short Story Ideas Guaranteed to Kick Your Writing into High Gear

Tonya Thompson

With shorter attention spans and increasingly hectic lives, it's no wonder readers love short stories now as much as ever. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button , The Shawshank Redemption , Minority Report , and Brokeback Mountain —even Hollywood has taken a renewed interest in short stories.

Below are 301 short story prompts and starters to help you become inspired, get past writer's block and explore the fascinating process of writing in a genre that Stephen King famously once compared to a kiss in the dark from a stranger.

Please feel free to use any of these ideas to spark your next creative project. You don't have to credit us, but it would be much appreciated if you do! A simple link to ServiceScape is the best way to do that.

Need more writing prompts? Check out our writing prompt videos below or try out our Writing Prompt Generator .

660 Narrated Science Fiction Writing Prompts

  • A group of hunters are on a hunt. Their dress and actions are completely primitive until the end when they change back into suits and leave the area in modern vehicles.
  • Weather patterns across the globe suddenly shift, causing natural law to go haywire. A family tries to make sense of it while getting to safety.
  • A flood swept away an entire town, leaving only the library and its strange secret.
  • Your main character is evicted from their home and forced to call in some favors. Although, those favors take him/her on a wild ride they never expected.
  • The night before an important social function, your main character is tasked with saving the world.
  • Your main character's boat is sinking in the middle of the ocean and he/she only has 1 hour to make a raft from parts of the vessel.
  • Your main character joins the communist regime and leads the party to glorious victory over the capitalist bourgeoisie funded by your antagonist's Super-PAC.
  • Your main character has a change of heart and partners up with your antagonist, joining their evil organization and proving a much more capable evil overlord than your antagonist could ever hope to be.
  • Your character's things are packed up and they are ready to leave town tomorrow. Before they say goodbye to their town, they decide to stop by at their favorite bar just to say goodbye. Something that happens at the bar makes them question whether or not leaving is the right decision.
  • When your character is hanging out at their favorite coffee shop, they notice someone loitering outside. As your character leaves, they see a black SUV pull up and a very handsome man gets out. The loiterer goes to lunge for the man, but your character instinctively decides to jump on him, blocking him from attacking the unsuspecting man. It turns out that the handsome man is the governor of the state. What happens next?
  • Two giant fingers reach down and pluck your main character away from what they were just doing, and unceremoniously deposit them on a pirate ship.
  • Your main character finds an abandoned car, keys still inside, parked outside their home.
  • Your protagonist is a corporate CEO who suddenly must hunt and forage his own food.
  • Your characters are trapped in a structure that constantly shifts and changes. How do they find their way out?

Sci-fi, Fantasy, and Supernatural

  • Your main character wakes up in the body of the person he/she most despises.
  • An outdoor music festival receives strange, otherworldly visitors who decide to take the stage for their own performance.
  • A man wakes up to discover he can no longer hear but can see things he's never seen before.
  • A man and his dog go to the dog park to play and the dog finds a bone with strange carvings on it that reacts to the environment in unexpected ways.
  • A group of high school friends cross paths 10 years after graduation to catch up, only to learn that one in their midst has developed special, superhuman powers.
  • A secondary character stumbles upon a talking blade, and they begin behaving suspiciously.
  • Your character wakes one morning and finds that they are physically stronger, faster, and have greater reflexes than when they went to sleep. Each time they sleep, they become stronger.
  • As if losing everything she owned in the tornado wasn't enough, Lila learned that she'd been laid off from her job. And that's when she started noticing the monsters.
  • A tertiary character is revealed to be "The chosen one," and your main character must help them to succeed in fulfilling their destiny.
  • The antagonist dies, but the story doesn't end.
  • Your main character is given a suit that protects them from danger—unfortunately it has a different threshold for safety than seems ideal.
  • A character in your story becomes aware that they are in a story.
  • our character wakes up deaf and mute but sees more colors than he or she knew was possible.
  • Your main character finds that time has slowed for them. Each year they age only several weeks, and slowly those nearest them are beginning to take notice.
  • Your main character makes a pact with an alien visitor to trade bodies for the day to tour around unnoticed.
  • Your main character wakes up in an unrecognizable city that is at least 100 years more advanced in technology than we are today.
  • Lightning strikes your main character and he/she wakes up in the hospital with a small black goblin perched on their shoulder, which no one else can see.
  • The sun goes out, replaced by building-sized lights in the sky over each major city. Across the world, beams of light descend from the sky, and each points toward your main character.
  • A secondary character is visited by aliens. They are told that they have been chosen as a representative of humanity amongst the interstellar accord. They need your main character's advice.
  • Your main character has a theme song which plays for ten seconds every time they enter a room.
  • Your protagonist is visited by a comic book hero who needs their help.
  • Your character cannot wake from a series of back-to-back dreams that feel like he or she is awake.
  • All rhinos have gone extinct except for two, and your main character has been granted guardianship of the last two of their kind.
  • Your character notices a weird growth on their arm one morning. They brush it off as a weird bump or scratch—until it turns into something else entirely.
  • Your character has always thought of their parents in a certain way, but here lately they're doing something unusual that changes your character's opinion of them.
  • Your main character is the owner of a variety store and an invisible car crashes through the wall, driven by an invisible person.
  • Your antagonist and protagonist meet in the afterlife, hundreds of thousands of years after your story takes place.
  • Your antagonist and protagonist get freaky-Friday-ed. When they wake up, each is in the other's body.
  • Your main character is suddenly invisible, but they don't know how long it will last.
  • Your main character wakes up, in high school again, and finds that they are late for an important test.
  • Your main character is granted a single wish, but must be careful, because the genie granting the wish will attempt to misinterpret any wish they make.
  • Your main character finds himself/herself in the video game they were playing.
  • Your main character is the leader of a random group of apocalypse survivors who must now forage for food.
  • A cell phone is found locked inside a cabinet in a home recently purchased by newlyweds. On it is a recorded message from their future children. What does the message say and how did it get there?
  • Your main character and the three people standing closest to them, are thrown backwards in time three hundred years.
  • Your protagonist can see the future and doesn't want to leave his/her home.
  • Your main character discovers that they are a wizard, and that this means they will have to leave their family to learn how to safely practice magic, in a school they have never heard of.
  • Suddenly, your main character can hear the thoughts of everyone who is wearing the same color shirt as they are.
  • Your protagonist dies. The story doesn't end.
  • Your main character is really a guardian angel in human form.
  • Your protagonist meets a man claiming to be God. He/she doesn't believe the man, but then miracles ensue.
  • Two adult sisters discuss a fateful night when they were teenagers and ran away from home, only to encounter a pack of vampires waiting to take them in.
  • A family comes together for Christmas, only to discover that they have somehow switched bodies and perspectives over the course of the meal.
  • A man or woman wakes up as his/her dog or cat and it's breakfast time.
  • Two writers discover they've written the exact same text, word for word, 1,000 miles apart from each other.
  • A parent and child encounter their ancestor, who has been dead for centuries, and they go on a walk through the city/the woods.
  • A lost Incan treasure is found in the basement of a school in Ohio. How did it get there? And more importantly, how is it glowing?
  • Your main character suddenly loses his ability to see but can hear things he hadn't heard before.
  • .It's 2050 and most of America has become one large city except for a small area in the middle of the country, considered uninhabitable by most people except for a few. Who are they and how do they survive?

Romance and Drama

  • A secondary character starts their own business and enlists your main character to help it succeed but falls in love instead.
  • Your antagonist wins over your main character's best friend, convincing that friend of their good intentions.
  • Your main character gets a new job, working at the evil corporation run by your antagonist—but the work they would be doing could really help people.
  • Your main character and their best friend find themselves in a love triangle with your antagonist.
  • A couple is having an argument at the table beside your character at a restaurant. Although they are trying to avoid eye contact, your character realizes that one of them is the ex that the other never quite got over.
  • A tertiary character is seriously stressing out, and your protagonist feels the need to reach out to them with a kind gesture. It does the opposite of help.
  • Your character is talked into going to their romantic interest's mother's dance recital, and their romantic interest doesn't show up.
  • Your character is at a friend's house for a dinner party. Suddenly, someone they absolutely despise walks in. What do they do now?
  • Your character's boyfriend of five years surprises them with an engagement ring at a dinner with their whole family. They pause for a minute before they answer him. But if he knew their secret, there is no way he would be proposing right now. The whole room is waiting for the response.
  • Your character gets matched up with a famous person on Tinder. What happens on their date?
  • Your character's friend introduces them to someone at a party. It turns out that your character and the other person actually know each other quite well. However, neither of them acknowledges this fact. The friend steps away. What do they say to each other now?
  • Your character's mom seems really tense when they are out to dinner with her one evening. They ask her what's wrong. "I have something to tell you," she says gravely.
  • Write a story about a father and son reuniting for the first time in 20 years. Why did they go so long without talking? What finally brought them together?
  • Your main character's romantic interest finds one day that they are much more interested in your antagonist.
  • Suddenly, a tertiary character confesses their love for your protagonist, getting down on one knee and producing a ring. But your protagonist loves someone else.
  • One night when your character is at a bar with all of their friends, a mysteriously charming stranger starts talking to them. They are instantly captivated by their every word. They ask for your character's number, but there's just one (major) problem.

Mystery and Horror

  • A writer's manuscript contains words he didn't write…ghostwriting in its truest form. But who is his co-author and what does the ghost want?
  • Your main character comes home to find that their family is missing.
  • Your character wakes up covered with strange tattoos and can't remember how he/she got them.
  • Your protagonist awoke from a nightmare to find an object from his/her dream laying on the pillow.
  • Two cousins hitchhike along a deserted country road, following a stream of black smoke to an abandoned house, where there is no one tending the steadily burning fire.
  • Your main character wakes up in the trunk of a car, their head throbbing.
  • An escaped convict leaves behind evidence of his innocence for the search party to find.
  • Your protagonist wakes up aged considerably, after a Rip Van Winkle-esque 20-year nap, and his friends don't believe his story.
  • There's no way out of the concert hall but the concert-goers tried to find it anyway. Behind them, the snarling monster prowled.
  • Lost in the woods, two teens encounter a witch-like woman who offers them all they've ever wanted in exchange for one small thing—their baby sister.
  • Your main character discovers a long-lost sibling who is down on their luck.
  • Your main character is given an important heirloom, an item passed down for generations in their family. But it is cursed.
  • Your main character finds a black mahogany door in their basement, shut tight with chains.
  • One night while your character is camping in the woods with their family, there's a loud noise from inside the tent. At first everyone thinks it's an animal, but this sounds like nothing they've ever heard before.
  • Your main character has a conversation with a ghost from their past, either literally or figuratively.
  • Your main character goes broke drinking and gambling and wakes up the next morning with a small white rabbit perched on their chest, possibly stolen from the magic act they saw the night before.
  • Your main character wakes up on a rooftop, in their underwear.
  • Your main character inherits a vast fortune, but they must stay in a creepy old house for an entire night in order to earn it.
  • Your main character sells their soul and seems to have all of their problems solved, only to find out that the devil is a blood relation, and there are no catches.
  • Your main character wakes up to find that ¾ of the world's population has suddenly disappeared without a trace.
  • Two adopted twin sisters embark on a journey to find their birth father, only to find that he's been close to them all along.
  • Your main character's dog goes missing in the night, and they aren't the only one missing a pet. After some sleuthing they discover that a friend has become a werewolf, and that their best friend is the cause of the missing animals.
  • Your main character wakes up wearing a strange ring which glows with sparks of blue electricity.
  • People find that if they don't concentrate on keeping their soul attached to their body, it begins to separate. Without continuous concentration, everyone becomes ghosts of themselves.
  • Your character discovers that there's something really mysterious happening at the neighborhood park. Your character finally works up the nerve to go down there one evening, and what they find is even more peculiar than what they originally thought.
  • Your main character is trapped in a dream that is quickly becoming a nightmare.
  • After a particularly grueling day at work, your character groggily returns to work the next morning. The secretary, who your character has said hello to every morning for about five years, suddenly has no idea who they are. When they tell her their name, she responds: "No one by that name has ever worked here."
  • Your character wakes up one morning in what looks to be a hospital. They try to move, but it appears they are strapped into the bed. A nurse suddenly enters the room and calls them by the wrong name. What happened to them? What happens next?
  • The doorbell rings. No one is there, but a mysterious package was left behind. Your character opens it up and find something inside that's very unexpected.
  • Write about a scenario where a character does something terrible and gets away with it completely.
  • Your character's sibling is wanted for a serious crime. They swear that they didn't do it, but your character is not so sure.
  • A ghost of your antagonist's great-great-great-grandmother visits your protagonist, warning him to stay away from her great-great-great-grandchild.
  • On your character's walk to work, they notice that the streets are suspiciously empty. Brushing it off, they finally get to their office. There's no one inside at all. They walk around searching for someone, anyone to ask what's happening. They find no one and nothing.
  • A child draws scenes that end up happening exactly as he/she draws them. His/her parents try to understand what is happening.
  • Your main character has been knocked unconscious, and another character from your story needs to step up and take their place.
  • At the library one afternoon doing some research, your character notices an unusual photograph. Your character is immediately captivated by it. What's in the photograph?
  • Your character's grandma recently passed away. In her will, she left your character something very strange.
  • Your main character has just come face to face with their worst enemy, and they are monologuing.
  • Your antagonist has finally won, accomplishing their greatest feat. Now what?
  • Your antagonist and protagonist swap places for a day.
  • Your antagonist and protagonists are placed in the same dorm room at university. Hilarity ensues.
  • It turns out your antagonist was right the whole time, and now your protagonist has some explaining to do.
  • Your main character or antagonist wins the lottery, a jackpot of 3.4 million dollars. But he/she doesn't want it.
  • Your main character is contemplating suicide until a stranger stops him/her.
  • The king dies, and your antagonist's best friend becomes the new ruling monarch. The catch is, they don't seem too bad, other than the fact that your antagonist keeps whispering in their ear.
  • Your protagonist is incredibly late for their next scheduled meeting, and he or she just keeps running into obstacles which stall them further.
  • Your character's birthday wish that they made when they were blowing out the candles actually comes true. What is it? Is it everything that they hoped for?
  • Your character's home is a little worse for wear. It seems like everything is broken and your character has no more money to invest in this money pit. In the garage, they see an old can of gasoline. Would they do the unthinkable? What is going through their mind right now?
  • Your character's family has a lot of traditions. They go along with them, except for one. If their parents knew your character broke this rule, they would likely disown them. What is it? What would your character do if they found out?
  • Your character is a pretty shy, introspective person. One day they wake up and realize that they are saying everything that they think. They can't control the words that are coming out of their mouth at all. While this is helpful when they are trying to talk to friends and acquaintances at work, it really starts to get them into trouble.
  • Your character is a member of a family that has always feuded with their neighbors over trivial issues, and now must ask his/her neighbors for help in an emergency. How do the neighbors respond?

Story Starters

  • The place where the world stopped was not so strange, but the vertigo was overwhelming. The girl could not decide whether or not it would be wise to jump.
  • The gear turned, interlaced with another, and another. His eyes traced the inner workings of the machine to the place where the light shone.
  • Static played between the cracks of the monitor, the spark and hiss of the television muffled as the living room filled with water.
  • The hand was pale, as if circulation had long stopped; and the ring upon the creature's finger seemed to glow with a spark of interior fire.
  • They say that when you die in a dream, you die in real life. I can tell you that isn't true; because I died in a dream, and what happened to me was much stranger than that.
  • The girl spun, dragged by the momentum of her backpack, tilting from one foot to the next so that her balance was tenuous, her motions growing wilder.
  • The face in the mirror was not his own. It was handsomer, his eyes more vibrant, his skin clearer. He frowned, uncertain, but his reflection smiled.
  • Once upon a time, in a night with no stars and no moon, there was a shadow in the darkness.
  • Bright blue water held the stars' reflections, until she dove beneath the surface. Then for a long moment the lake was still, until I began to grow nervous. When she finally returned, she held aloft over her head the star which had hung in the North, the wish-making star.
  • It was, as the wave of mud descended, sprayed by the wheels of a yellow taxi – it was that moment which made that day the worst of her life.
  • Again, try again. Concentrate now, it will not come easily.
  • Strange, to see her here. She seemed out of place. Not the soft out-of-place, like an uncle entertaining unfamiliar nieces and nephews, but the hard of out-of-place which drew every eye in the room.
  • It was a trick of the fingers, and a twist of the wrist, which changed the shape of the shifting cloak. One moment the garment was a heavy green wool, and the next it was black satin, suitable for the night's entertainments.
  • I have been many things: a pawn, a dancer, a master of the blade; but none of these in the way you might think, and none of them for less than a moment.
  • The torch hissed as he plunged it into the river and let the current sweep the light away. Then he was alone in the dark with the red-ember eyes.
  • Like a dream she had drifted from the room, and like a dream she seemed unreal, and like a dream she was gone.
  • The pencil was now stuck in the ceiling, the glob of green hanging precariously from it; and before I could dash across the room, or throw the stapler again to dislodge it, Mr. Smythe reentered the classroom.
  • The lower level was waist-deep already, flooding from a number of breaches along the starboard hull. Younger crewmen were wading through the water in search of bailing buckets. Older crewmates were racing toward the ladders, offering prayers beneath their breath.
  • The river was home to a great many, and together they drifted along it. It was never fast, never sudden, but always full to brimming of fish, and always clean to drink.
  • The sphere was some metal he had never seen before, like steel but with a faint blue hue. It stood out nearly three feet from the earth; and where it was exposed to the air, lightning struck it repeatedly, illuminating his surroundings with each strike.
  • The woman swung her scythe with the steady clockwork motion of a pendulum.
  • Frost spread across the ground. Slowly at first, with the lingering laziness of autumn, but then with greater fervor; and the creature flew along behind it as it spread across the field.
  • Doom blanketed the town, like silence might have on a more peaceful night.
  • Typical, he thought. Another throwaway evening. Not a soul in town, and not a sound to be heard; but that night was anything but typical.
  • She didn't blink. Not when he made faces, or when he screamed; not when he brought out the joke about the garden gnomes, or the one about the flea circus. She didn't even blink when he resorted to the feather, or when he made a motion like he might poke her in the eye.
  • His favorite color had always been blue. Not because it was depressing or anything – it wasn't – but because it seemed to soak in the light, and then give some of it back. Like black, he thought, but less dead, less drab.
  • The ballet slipper would not fit, and that would never do. Only moments now, before they knocked on her dressing room door, and her sister's slipper would not slide onto her foot.
  • You aren't supposed to have conversations through the wall of the changing rooms, especially not the fancy kind where a woman waits outside to ask if everything fits just right. And yet, here she was, knee deep in the most awkward conversation she could imagine.
  • There was no gravity here, and so she floated, waiting to come close enough to something solid that she could push off from it, and toward the exit.
  • They say bleach for blood but the odor is too strong. Best to take it out with hydrogen peroxide. Then again, it looks strange buying thirty bottles of hydrogen peroxide at three in the morning, so I settle for a couple gallons of bleach.
  • The doctor looked up from the manila folder in his hands and said, "Your test results are positive."
  • Just as she settled into the backseat with her suitcase and carry-on bag, an oncoming headlight illuminated the driver's face and she realized this wasn't her Uber driver. He was the man they'd been showing on the news the last few days.
  • As the doctor handed the newborn bundle to her, she gasped.
  • As she threw her head back to soak up the flowering spring trees, she saw her ex-husband watching her from across the street. How could he have known she was here?
  • The young girl was maybe 5 or 6 but there was something about her that chilled me to the bone.
  • She might never get the chance to be alone with him again. Her husband was across the country; he'd never find out, so why not?
  • "Is this your handwriting?" the policeman asked with a scowl.

Story Starters

  • I could have been anything—a doctor, lawyer, architect. Instead, I became a carney.
  • When he saw the state troopers standing on his front stoop, he thought they must have the wrong house. But when the troopers took off their hats and one of them asked, "Are you James Cooper?" he couldn't find the strength to answer.
  • "I knew you'd come back to me," she whispered. "It's been a lifetime but I knew you'd come back."
  • The doctor emerged from the double doors and said, "There were some unexpected complications."
  • This was the moment he'd been training for. He strapped on his helmet and got in position.
  • She continued running, but as the trail of blood got thicker and the splattered drops got closer together, she started following the blood instead of the greenway path. She had to find the source of all this blood. Was it animal blood... or human?
  • When he looked around, he froze. He'd been here before. This was the same place where he kept getting stuck in his dreams. Would he be able to find his way out in waking life?
  • She shut off the kitchen light and turned to go upstairs to bed, unaware that two sets of eyes were watching her every move.
  • He frantically searched his lab, but he found no sign of the invisibility potion. How could someone have stolen it before he even got the chance to use it?
  • As she listened to him snore on the pillow next to her, she wondered how much longer she could stay married to him. She prayed he would die in his sleep or get hit by a car. Then her eyes fell on the pillow at the foot of the bed.
  • "Mr. Dempsey, they're not both going to make it. We can save your wife or the baby, but we can't save both. You need to let us know your decision in the next two minutes, or we may lose them both."
  • "Are you sure you want to do this?" the man asked as he positioned the needle over her heart.
  • Nothing had grown in that patch of grass for 50 years. It had been a barren dirt patch ever since that stranger had conjured a fire bolt and scorched the ground. But Tommy definitely saw a green sprout growing in the middle of the barren square. What was it, and how could it produce life in a place that nothing else could?
  • The car rattled as if she'd gone over a speed bump, but she knew there were no speed bumps on this road. She looked in her rear view mirror and thought she saw blonde hair… and maybe a human form on the road. She wondered if she should turn back. Had anyone seen her?
  • "If you walk out that door right now, I don't ever want to see your face in my home again," his mother said.
  • "I will get my money back one way or another," he growled, as he pinned her arms beneath her back.
  • "The price of freedom depends on what you're willing to pay. Tell me, sir: how much is your freedom worth to you?
  • She fumbled in her purse for her keys, but her hands were clumsy with fear. Just as her fingers grazed the familiar key fob, a sweaty hand grabbed her shoulder.
  • He'd seen her. She could tell by the smirk on his lips. She pushed through the thick crowd in hopes of making it to the exit before he blocked her way.
  • She glared at the thick bracelet on her bicep. Why did her parents make such a big deal about never taking off? It was heavy and not even stylish. She found clasp and fiddled with it for a moment. Surely her parents were exaggerating about all the awful things that would happen to her if she ever took this off.
  • He extended his hand to her and said, "Hi, I'm Finkel Wolfson." She looked at his outstretched hand as if it was crawling with spiders and roaches. "Oh, I've heard about you," she said with a sniff. Finkel panicked. He was 3000 miles away from home; how could she have heard about him?
  • "One of us has to try it," Amir said as he pointed to the lumpy, unfamiliar fruit on the tree in front of them. If we don't, we'll starve to death. Death by poison seems worth the risk in case it's edible, doesn't it?"
  • The night winds rustled as the door to the old woman's home slowly opened.
  • She laughed when he told her the news. It was exactly what she expected and she knew the lie was over.
  • He glanced in his rearview mirror and saw that the blue sedan was still following him.
  • She stepped off the elevator with a sense of purpose. This time, she would succeed.
  • He flicked the stub of his cigarette onto the pile and walked away without a second look.
  • Just as they got to the edge of town, the car started making a terrible clunking sound.
  • "What's that smell?"
  • He rolled down his window and called out, "Hey—do you want a ride?"
  • "You better get down to the station. It happened again."
  • The dog raced toward her with such intensity that she didn't have time to get out of his way.
  • "I don't think you're capable of love."
  • He picked up the glowing rock and inspected it. Where had it come from, and how had it ended up in his backyard?
  • By the time Johnny got home, thousands of sheets of paper had piled up on the floor beside the printer, each with only one sentence printed in bold type: "I am coming for you, and there's nothing you can do."
  • "How could you have married him? You promised you'd wait for me."
  • "I've lost him," she screamed, but none of us knew what she'd lost.
  • For a moment, time slowed, and the sound of the approaching storm was all that we could hear.
  • "Look out!" he shouted.
  • I'd never last long in the slammer. I get all frantic when I'm in tight spaces, start tryin' to climb the walls and such.
  • Tears filled her eyes as she scanned the list a second time. She didn't make the team.
  • "I'm pregnant."
  • He watched her leave, knowing that she only locked the flimsy doorknob behind her. He had at least two hours before she'd be back home.
  • "Where am I?"
  • "What happened to you?" She asked.
  • There are three things you never mess with if you know what's good for you: heroin, border patrol, and the Valdez cartel.
  • She fell to the floor when she heard the first explosion. She didn't know if she should try to escape or try to hide.
  • "We're sending you to live with another family. It's for your own safety."
  • As she watched this hulking, hairy animal lope across her backyard, she wondered what two creatures collaborated to make this tremendous beast, and what was it looking for?
  • "She hasn't spoken a word since the accident. Our friend said that you might be able to help her."
  • "Don't lie to me. I already know the truth."
  • As he walked away, his smile grew from a smirk to an all-out grin.
  • "Why is all of Daddy's stuff in the front yard?"
  • He counted his register drawer again. How could he be short $2500?
  • The teacher looked at his gaping shoes and tattered clothes and knew she had to find out what was really going on at home or this kid would end up in the system. She called him up to her desk and asked, "Do you want to help me on a project this weekend?"
  • If he hurried, he might be able to get back to work before anyone found out what he had done.
  • "Do you have experience with demons?" she whispered from under the table.
  • "This medicine numbs the pain, but it will also permanently numb your ability to feel pleasure. Do you want it?"
  • "Mr. Whipple, we've just learned that your wife is an undercover agent with the Russian government. We need your help apprehending her."
  • Once she'd confirmed that no one was looking, she ducked into the unmarked building.
  • When she walked outside the next morning, she realized his curse must have worked.
  • He pulled his hat low over his brow and tried to blend in with the crowd, hoping no one would realize who he was.
  • He was inside the video game! But wait—if he was in here... who had the controls?
  • She bent down to pick up the strange-looking shell from the sand, but as soon as her hand touched it, the earth started to shake.
  • He opened the letter and sunk to his knees in the middle of the driveway.
  • "What are we going to do once the last of this food is gone?" he asked.
  • She looked closer and realized that this tree was growing dollar bills instead of leaves and quarters instead of acorns.
  • There is never a better time to say "I'm sorry" than when karma is kicking you good.
  • When the pigeon swooped down in front of her, she realized it had a note attached to its right leg.
  • "I'll need to speak to at least three of your ex-girlfriends to check your references before I'll go on a date with you."
  • "Mommy, there's a ghost in my room!"
  • Something wasn't right. No one seemed to recognize her. No one even really seemed to see her. Could he have erased her existence?
  • They had never been this high before. As she reached for the next rock outcropping, she wondered if it was actually close enough to reach, or if she was about to fall into the canyon.
  • "This is something we don't usually show visitors," the museum docent whispered as she unlocked the door marked "DANGER!"
  • He looked both ways before crossing the street, not realizing that he had just made the worst decision of his life.
  • "How did you get that scar?"
  • He muttered a few extra spells as he stirred the potion. He couldn't risk it malfunctioning this time.
  • Every person on the street and in the mall looked identical. They were all wearing red shirts and blue shorts, and every single one was a man with light skin and short brown hair. What had happened, and how was she the only one who was still different?
  • "You don't understand," she said, looking at him sadly. "I am not who you think I am."
  • All the lights in the city went out and they knew the monsters were surrounding them.
  • "If you take one step closer, it'll be the last step you ever take," he said, pointing the weapon at the strange figure in front of him. But his threat was useless, since the creature had no feet.
  • There, nestled within the grove of trees, was the thing he'd been waiting for since he was 12 years old.
  • "Who's there?" Her words bounced off of the metal walls of shipping containers when she awoke. But there was only the echo of her own voice to answer her.
  • They were lost in the woods and they knew it, although this time was different. This time, they were hunted.
  • Looking into the fire was the wrong thing to do. He found he couldn't drag his stare away.
  • It wasn't until my father pushed me off the cliff that I believed he was telling the truth.
  • The sign hit them like an inanimate object.
  • The pumpkin would not stop growing, despite the application of the second potion. The witch had lied.
  • All four tires were on the ground, but I had started floating toward the surface.
  • Smoke leaked from the exhaust pipes of the Mustang as the plane began to descend. She looked into the jungle below, dreading the impact.
  • Picture us, standing against the world, armed to the teeth, walking out into that blizzard.
  • If romance is dead, then I suppose there are none to blame but the hopeless romantics. It was a boy, not too long ago, that taught me romance – real romance—isn't something hopeless, or unenergetic like stale poetry, or futile like canned compliments.
  • It's impossible to tell really, just how many times I've come back.
  • When a pet passes away, the moment is strangely dense. That moment as I held the shoebox was the longest of my young life, but there were harder times to come.
  • The girl crept past the open door, listening with piqued interests for clues revealed in the voices beyond it.
  • Thunder does not crash like a wave, but ripples outward like a pebble tossed into a pond. When the lightning struck, I was the first to hear that thunder.
  • Heroes wear masks for all kinds of reasons. I wear the mask so they can't see the grey at my temples or the weariness of age in my eyes.
  • The sun never shone like it did that day. It baked my skin until I felt I might burn in the shade, but I never did. Nothing went wrong that day.
  • The paper tore once, twice, three times. I shredded it and scattered it to the wind.
  • Ma always told me not to climb so high. Always lookin' out for me 'cause I ain't look out for myself. Too bad Ma ain't here now.
  • They think they know me, but they don't really. I hunt only at night and only when I know I have the advantage over my prey.
  • City slicker like myself doesn't have a wit of business in the country. They knew it. I knew it. Not a one of us in that room was happy I'd purchased the land.
  • Here's the thing about family. Family sticks together, but it's almost never roses and sunshine. Family sticks together when you have nothing; so when you have it all, well, things get complicated in a different way.
  • It wasn't my idea to paint the damn cow, it was Johnny's; but I suppose I'm to blame for going along with it.
  • Stars spin real slow. So slow you can't see it, unless you have the time and the resources to take a really close look.
  • I can't say I ever much liked gym class. I've never seen the point of running unless you were being chased. But I'm running now, aren't I? I guess I'm glad I never skipped gym.
  • It's been a few years since the guns got off the street, and the drugs. Didn't happen all at once, but it did happen fast. Not sure I like it.
  • My dad raised me believing that time is money. Now that money is time though, I'm not sure anything he taught me means what I thought it would.
  • I realized that something was wrong when I thought "I'm getting married," instead of "I'm getting married to John."
  • It wasn't a happy winter, but it wasn't so sad either, considering.
  • "Blood is thicker than water," we all heard that. What people don't do is say it out full: "The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb," which, (if you ask me, which you didn't) means almost the opposite.
  • Never thought I'd dance on his grave, not really.
  • Clouds parted that night, while I was bending picking weeds in the dark—fool thing to do—and the moon shone down on my garden.
  • There are dreamers like me, but none as vivid, and none who know the clouds and sunshine of my mind as I do.
  • You can't sing—can't really sing—a happy song when you are sad; but I know now that you can sing a sad song, and fill that song with life, when you are happy.
  • All it took was one step into the water and I knew I was home.
  • If love stories begin with wonder and end with tragedy, this isn't really a love story.
  • She looked out the window and saw moving shadows, as far as the eye could see, and was thankful at least for the light from the window on the house on the hill.
  • "I'm falling for you," he said. But he knew that look and he regretted it immediately.
  • Give me five minutes and I'll turn that girl's silly smile into a look of shock.
  • At dawn, we were swallowed up by the darkness, but it didn't matter, really. We had waited for it all night long.
  • If loss were a taste, you'd spit it out as soon as you were able to. But it isn't. It's a sound and a cry and it goes on forever.
  • That night in September, the body count was almost as high as the temperature.
  • ."They're not even normal," the little girl whispered. "Look Ma', those men have gills for ears."
  • She closed her eyes and remembered the flowers in her mother's yard and how red the roses grew.
  • There was nothing left to say but "I love you" as they stood together and watched the world burn.
  • "Mamma, there's someone here to see you." I knew from the sound of my daughter's scared voice who that someone was.
  • Lost in a wonderland of sorts, I wandered the home's slanted hallways until I found the right room.
  • "There he is," she shouted. "I told you he…..!" But before I could turn to look, she screamed and fell silent.
  • The explosion could be seen for miles around, but only two people saw it.
  • She couldn't identify the lifeforms standing across from her but she knew they weren't human. She also knew they weren't friendly.
  • "Here, put on this mask," she said. "They can't know who you really are."
  • It took 15 days and 11 hours to reach the mountain range on foot, but there it was in front of us, big as we knew it would be.
  • "I don't know how you handle this type of thing on Earth," she spat, "but here on Mars, we don't let killers run free."

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Home » Writing » 50 book ideas for writing a book you can start today

good things to write a story about

Ask yourself questions

Your everyday life is a goldmine of material for your creative work. Ask yourself these questions to figure out your next book idea.

1. What challenges are you facing? 

Telling your story about where you struggle can help other people feel less alone. Think about goals and obstacles in your personal, professional, or creative life and how you approached them.

2. What are you learning right now? 

Share whatever you’re working on and however you’re learning it—whether it’s about relationships, health practices, work efficiencies, or athletic competition, other people might benefit.

3. What’s happening in your day-to-day life?

Are you going through a big transition? Is there a weekly routine or yearly celebration that means something to you? Don’t overlook these things. Sometimes what has the most universal meaning is actually the most particular and personal.

Look around you

Be an explorer of your world and the people in it. Ask questions. Make observations. Travel down these paths to find out where your best book ideas are hiding:

4. Compile your family history

Who in your family has a story that needs to be told? How did your family (and you!) come to be how you are? A family history book is the perfect way to tell your story.

5. Explore your hometown history

What are the stories of how your town came to be? Highlight the famous people that put your town on the map, or include fun facts about local landmarks and insider tips for places you love.

6. Share your personal history

What were the key factors in your personal origin story? Reflect on the events and relationships that made you who you are today. 

7. Draw attention to a meaningful cause

Have you done any volunteer work that deepened your understanding or perspective? Do you have stories of how your organization changed lives and made a difference? Get the word out!

8. Talk about special events

Maybe you’ve been to over 30 Pearl Jam concerts, and you have the set list and memory for each one of them. Maybe you hosted a speakers’ series at your school. Maybe you attended a rally, and the conversations inspired you.

9. Share your travel stories

Put together a travel book filled with your writing and discoveries made while visiting distant lands, then combine them with your photographs.

Become your own storyteller

10. try an experiment.

Do something for 30, 60, or 90 days and document your experience.

11. Write the story behind your favorite topics

What are your favorite books, albums, songs, films, or paintings? Use each of these as story starter ideas to craft a creative and relatable book.

12. Highlight your biggest success

How did you set this goal? What led up to your achievements, and who helped you along the way?

13. Reveal your biggest failure

What did you learn? How can you help other people deal with fear, failure, or recovery and be resilient? 

14. Do something epic, then write about it  

Raising $20,000 for cancer research, tackling a big life obstacle, summiting a peak, visiting all 50 states—if you have an eye on writing a book, you’ll do these things differently and keep careful records. Wanting a story to tell might also inspire some pretty incredible adventures.

Pick a non-fiction genre to get started

15. write a big idea book.

These kinds of stories focus on a new concept, tool, or learning that will change how people love, work, and live. Teach other people one big thing you know.

16. Make a list book

The lists you keep for yourself—like a gratitude list or a list of local restaurants—can inspire and inform someone else. Take one of your lists and make it into a creative book!

17. Publish an educational photo book

Pair your most impressive photographs with interesting captions or stories of the local geography, history, flora, and fauna.

18. Compile a series of letters

If you have been part of an enlightening correspondence (and the other party involved is willing to share their story, too), document your dialogue in a book.

19. Create an interview book

Compile interviews with inspiring individuals in your life, community, or professional field. Organize the book around a particular theme, or turn the conversations into a series of essays that change the way people think.

Consider content you have already written

You might already have created a body of work that can fill the pages of a book, it just needs to be compiled, organized, and formatted. The process of pulling these ideas together might even inspire another project of new material.

20. Print a series of blog posts

If you’ve already taken the time to compose daily or weekly articles, you’re well on your way! Look for a common thread or topic running throughout, organize your posts into chapters or sections, and take your stories to the next level—in print.

21. Make a book of postcards

The art of snail mail doesn’t have to be lost forever. Make a fun, quirky, or insightful coffee table book of postcards you’ve received or ones you’ve collected.

22. Publish love letters

Making love letters public is not for everyone—but if you and your beloved agree to the project, you just might find yourself with a one-of-a-kind collaboration featuring poems, stories, and reflections. You can also get creative and write a series of fictional love letters to people, places, objects, or events you adore.

23. Turn your journal entries into a book

The unique journal pages of artists, writers, photographers, travelers, and introspective individuals are a fascinating genre all their own. Sharing your personal reflections can inspire readers of all kinds.

24. Publish your own cookbook

Do your friends and families love gathering around your table to taste your culinary creations? Are you a foodie inspired by certain ingredients, dietary trends, family traditions, local or international cuisine? Share your favorite recipes.

Look to the non-fiction bestseller categories from Amazon

Here are some possible book-writing ideas that fall within categories that represent Amazon’s bestselling non-fiction. Try these on for size:

Biography and memoir book ideas

25. try making a new city home.

Most people can identify with the challenges of relocating to a new place—whether it’s a different city, state, or country. Take your readers through the ups and downs of that transition.

26. Share your 25 best or worst date stories

Do you have a history of finding love in all the right (or wrong) places? Do tell.

27. Write a biography of a family member

Chances are, there’s at least one person in your family with a unique, inspiring, or powerful life story to share. Maybe you have a distant ancestor or living relative who defied all odds to make an astounding journey, overcome hardships, find personal success, or pave the way for others.

Self-help book ideas

28. describe the experience of intuitive eating.

Have you made personal strides in your approach to healthy eating and food? Share your story of empowerment from start to finish.

29. Explore new rules for dating

Take a lighthearted, compassionate, or serious approach to a popular topic. Depending on your area of expertise, you might include research, personal anecdotes, observations, or interviews.

Religion and spirituality book ideas

30. design an inspirational gift book.

Gather all your favorite quotes and pair them with photography, illustrations, or designs to create a motivational book.

31. Publish a religious study or devotional workbook

Share the divine wisdom and traditions that you know best, including classic teachings and lessons for personal growth.  

32. Write a religious memoir

Create a memoir based on personal events, learning, or transformations that led you to your current religious beliefs.

Health, fitness, and nutrition book ideas

33. inspire someone with 10 life lessons in food.

Maybe you learned how to maintain a healthy weight, or you discovered how the food on your plate affects your mood, sleep, or overall health. Don’t keep your success a secret!

34. Summarize your experience of 30 days on a specific diet

Ketogenic. Intermittent fasting. Low sugar. Mediterranean. Gluten free. If you tried it, it’s time to tell all.

35. Compile a research summary of how to exercise

Use your scientist-meets-fitness skills to create a guidebook with training tips, health facts, and exercise inspiration.

Politics and social science book ideas

36. explore public policy, ideologies, or politics.

The debate lover in you already has plenty to say about these big topics, so you bring your persuasive book to life with data and insights.

37. Forecast political and cultural trends

This kind of book takes a knack for research—so use your authority as a demonstrated expert or passionate professional to tell it like it is (or like it soon will be).

Cookbook, food, and wine book ideas

38. collect recipes from the family restaurant.

Cultivate a love of cooking and share your special kitchen traditions, recipes, and food photography with an audience who’s craving more. (Just make sure to get the a-ok from the original chef!)

39. Print a guide to local wineries with photos and reviews

Malbec or Shiraz? Moscato or Chenin Blanc? You don’t have to be a sommelier to share your love and knowledge of great wines.

40. Explain 10 things you learned about cooking

What do you know about baking the perfect cake? Got tips and tricks for southern barbecue? Write what you know.

Business and money book ideas

41. tell your story of getting out of debt.

Did you learn financial lessons the hard way? People of all ages are eager to know how you did it.

42. Write about securing investments for a project

You organized a first-of-its-kind fundraiser or wrote a grant that saved the day. Offer your best money advice to project leaders everywhere.

43. Offer tips on how to earn a living from creative work

Think of it as your gift to the next generation of artists, writers, filmmakers, and photographers.

44. Share advice on running a large business

Money makes the world go round. What’s your secret to managing a successful company?

45. Show what you learned from the failure of a startup

Big dreams, harsh reality. If you had to do it all over again, what would you want to know?

Education and teaching book ideas

46. publish a classroom curriculum you designed.

Did you create lesson units that your students absolutely loved? What kind of project materials were successful, and how could other people use them? Make a workbook, ebook, or even a magazine that details your process.

Crafts, hobbies, and home book ideas

47. develop a guide to meaningful photography.

These days everyone fancies themselves a photographer , but there’s more than a filter to making great images. Tell them what to aim for.

48. Make an instructional knitting or sewing guide

If you can stitch like a pro, share your project tips and expertise in a practical craft book .

49. Create an interior design guide book

Put your creative instincts in print by sharing your style advice and favorite trends, from Boho chic to French country to modern minimalist.

50. Encourage people to learn a new hobby

Beginner projects in woodworking. One room, twelve ways. Introduction to jewelry making. Your creative skills and talents are invaluable to others who are just starting out, so lead the way!

What are You Waiting For?

Just pick one book idea and start writing

Print-on-demand makes it easier than ever to create one copy or a thousand. Whatever your next project idea, think of it as just that: your next project, not your only one. If the first book you create isn’t the book you know you have in you to write or make, that’s ok! This is just your first book. Once you do one, you’ll have what it takes to do the next one and the next one after that.

The key is to start the journey toward the book you want to write by reading more books to help you improve your writing skills, gain inspiration, and discover new ideas. And then making your next, knowing that the books that come in your future can take many different shapes.

What are you waiting for? Start your book today !

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100 Story Ideas

Since I have more story ideas than I can possibly explore in a lifetime, please allow me to offer some to you in this post.

Pick the idea that excites you the most, and you’ll find that its momentum will conjure up a whole new story world, replete with fascinating new characters!

Story Ideas - 100+ Story Prompts & Writing Ideas

Story Ideas

Here are 100 story ideas you can steal right now. And if that’s not enough, generate your own with the Idea Engine , or peruse these lists of scene ideas , flash fiction prompts , and writing prompts .

Write a story about…

  • A character with an addiction who discovers that they’re someone else’s addiction.
  • A historical character who travels to the present day and causes chaos when they steal back something that originally belonged to them.
  • An alien species that lands on earth but is only detectable through literature.
  • A world where every other person is born with wings and the history of how this came about.
  • A magical object that teleports into the hand of anyone who thinks about it, and the difficulties this causes for its owner.
  • A character who’s seeking justice for a murder they committed but can’t prove.
  • A faustian musician who’s trying to resurrect a dead musician so they can jam together.
  • A character who’s trying to win back their partner who ran away with their best friend.
  • A spirit animal’s quest to choose their human.
  • A mythical drug that’s at the root of someone’s family tree.
  • A fountain pen collector who’s found murdered, and the murder weapon is a fountain pen that was rumoured to have belonged to a famous historical figure.
  • A teenage boy who dreams of marrying a(n alien) princess.
  • A wedding planner who bears a secret grudge against happily married (or engaged) couples.
  • The history of a family who are committed to resurrecting an ancient art.
  • A character whose obsession with entomology threatens to unleash a plague of biblical proportions.
  • A group of archeologists who discover the ruins of Atlantis on a newly-formed volcanic island.
  • A knight who spends five years trying to break a spell cast on him by a witch, only to slowly fall in love with her.
  • A character whose family and friends believe that they are a mythological figure resurrected, even though they don’t believe it themselves.
  • A sailor who is shipwrecked on an artificial island-kingdom owned by an eccentric billionaire who has been presumed dead for ten years.
  • A character making friends while waiting for a hurricane to hit the hotel where they’re staying.
  • A graveyard that’s besieged by the souls of those who were buried outside its walls.
  • A bookshop that’s the last refuge of a group of fans of an unusual (and very specific) genre.
  • An occultist who develops a sudden interest in science.
  • A vintner who mans an interplanetary expedition to solve the mystery of a grape blight.
  • A dragon who’s in love with a rain deity and wants to find them the perfect gift.
  • A guest who begins to suspect that they’re not the only guest.
  • The founders of a town where the average IQ of the residents is abnormally high.
  • A warrior who discovers that their clan has been at war for centuries because of a typographical error that may have ben deliberate.
  • A magical world where all of the magic turns out to be an elaborate illusion.
  • A teacher who takes attendance and finds that there’s an extra student in their class.
  • An innkeeper who hires a magus, a troll, and an elf to guard their secret recipe, but finds they’ve put their trust in the wrong people.
  • A blind date that’s interrupted by a guardian angel.
  • A psychic tour guide who organises tours that help people turn their lives around.
  • A painter who travels to another planet in search of a rare pigment.
  • A character who discovers a strange calendar which appears to prophesy important events in their life.
  • A teenager who has to choose between two very different schools.
  • A builder who specialises in magical doors, extensions, and passages.
  • A character who gets trapped in their memory palace and has to find a way out in order to save someone else.
  • A character who accidentally discovers the world’s best pencil and spends the rest of their life trying to keep it secret at all cost.
  • A goddess who wakes up and finds that her religion has been abandoned, and sets out to seek the cause, and convert people back.
  • A miner who hits a vein of a strange new rock and becomes a target for a government agency that wants to keep the discovery a secret.
  • A florist who sends flowers to a wrong address and initiates a chain of events that leads to two people meeting and falling in love.
  • A country where citizens vote AI into leadership, rather than people.
  • A character who is obsessed with perfecting their life story by travelling back in time to correct mistakes or flaws.
  • A character who has to fall in love with someone from an enemy clan in order to lift a curse.
  • A book critic who is writing their first book but becomes paralysed by the fear of receiving vengeful reviews.
  • A character whose job is to create treasure hunts, but who finds themselves on someone else’s treasure hunt, and ends up discovering an old coffin.
  • A knitter who unravels a ball of yarn only to find it stained with blood, and helps the police investigate a possible murder.
  • A character who is afraid to leave their house, but needs to travel to see a loved one who is critically ill in hospital.
  • A character who steals what they think are the questions to an exam, and finds that they’re actually an application form for a secret, mythical order of scholars.
  • A protest that’s staged as cover for a huge heist.
  • A character who regains their sanity through chess.
  • The history of the most valuable dress in the world.
  • A character who discovers a secret message on a bottle of shampoo while showering, and is driven by curiosity to investigate it.
  • A peace treaty that’s signed on board a dirigible over no-man’s-land, and the people who fought for it.
  • A wealthy character who goes on a daytrip with a poor, homeless person, and switches places with them without realising.
  • Two people who fall in love but come from planets where time runs very differently.
  • A character who is the “chosen one” and discovers that they were the one who created the prophecy.
  • A society that’s organised according to an ancient symbol that they’ve misinterpreted.
  • A character who learns that the omens in their life are created by beings trying to guide them from another dimension.
  • A character who finds a baby abandoned in a bus shelter and embarks on a roadtrip with a wet nurse to try to find its parents.
  • A time-travelling antique dealer who steals their favourite author’s writing desk.
  • A detective who has to overcome their fear of flying in order to investigate the murder of a flight attendant.
  • A character who is biologically attracted to danger.
  • A character who is preparing to go through a rite of passage that involves death but not resurrection.
  • A character whose lover breaks up with them and then secretly follows them for a decade.
  • A gamer who has to rescue a real princess.
  • Two characters who leave to seek their fortunes in order to get married.
  • A rock band that tours the world and investigates crimes.
  • A psychologist who’s trying to hide their agoraphobia.
  • The crew of a spaceship that have been trying to find their way back to their home planet for centuries.
  • A vampire who gives blood rather than drinking it.
  • A private letter that falls into the hands of an influential leader and changes their outlook on life.
  • A character who learns that their parents were guilty of a terrible crime, and sets out to collect evidence against them.
  • A character who has been living as a recluse for many years, and learns that the people of a nearby settlement regard them as a guru, and have written books and made films about them.
  • What Romeo and Juliet get up to in the afterlife.
  • A character who stumbles upon a strange machine that their science teacher has been building in the school basement, and decides to help.
  • A character who reads their first book at the age of 81.
  • A character who awakens an ancient mythical beast while scouting for a movie location at a remote monastery.
  • Another planet’s space race.
  • A tattoo artist who helps a detective solve murders that involve tattooed victims.
  • Two lovers who are separated by a bridge that can’t be maintained much longer.
  • A fortune teller who becomes a suspect in a murder when it’s discovered that they foretold the victim’s death.
  • A retired hitman who resolves to atone for his work by saving people who are being targeted by their former employer.
  • A world where the gods of several pantheons join forces to eradicate their worshippers.
  • A character who is addicted to seeking out experiences of extreme solitude, and their eventual “healing”.
  • A memoirist whose distinction between their life story and the life they’re living begins to dissolve until their friends stage an intervention for them.
  • A diplomat to the fairy realm whose task is to negotiate a trade agreement.
  • A decorator who becomes increasingly convinced that the owner of the house they’re working on is trying to cover up a murder, even as they fall in love with them.
  • A character who works on a telephone helpline develops a relationship with one of the callers, and arranges to meet them only to be stood up.
  • A doctor investigating a rare disease that they specialise in who discovers that it’s artificially engineered, just as they begin to show symptoms themselves.
  • A character whose job is to clean up people’s imaginations.
  • A world where the people develop space travel in order to communicate with their deities who live on another planet, but find that the gods have vanished mysteriously.
  • A character living in a nursing home who wakes up one day to find themselves inundated with fan mail.
  • A character whose commute lasts a lightyear.
  • A character whose fear of missing out drives them to establish a surveillance network.
  • A character who has a fascination with all kinds of forgery, and how this interest will eventually lead to their death.
  • A film star who is actually two film stars.
  • A society that encourages and rewards mistakes and failure over success.
  • A writer who’s trying to give up their writing addiction.

How to Develop Your Story Ideas

This  free writing workshop  walks you through a STEP by STEP method to develop your story idea. Grab a sheet of paper and press play !

How to Plot a Novel on One Page for NaNoWriMo & Beyond

Where to Find More Story Ideas

  • Generate even more ideas by transposing the story ideas above into different genres , by replacing words or clauses, or by combining 2 or more ideas together.
  • My friend, Emma Welsh, has an ENORMOUS list of 365 story ideas here . My favourites: #8, #17, #111, #213, #273 & #360!
  • Watch this fun video to see how easy it is to invent 100 story ideas in an hour.
  • Self Publishing School has some great story prompts divided by genre.
  • I have another list of 52 romance story ideas  with built-in conflict!
  • Bestselling author, Jerry Jenkins, has an excellent post on finding story ideas and developing them into a full story (+ the Greyhound Bus Challenge)!
  • Too many story ideas? Try the Idea Ranker .

Roses, book & quill

I write about literature, language, love, and living off your pen. Also, fortifying fiction, personal amelioration, and tea.

good things to write a story about

Structure your story on one page.


Build a framework for stronger characters.


Construct a model of your story world.


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