I expose myself to a lot of really good stories. I watch films, read books, read comics, watch TV series, listen to audio books, read the news, and hear a lot of really good ideas for stories in my roleplaying game.
Copying isn’t bad
Taking a story that you’ve heard before and using it isn’t bad. There are many ways you can take an idea and use it as a story which is totally legitimate, and might be totally different to the original story that inspired you. Most works of fiction are inspired by other works of fiction. Taking a good idea that you’ve heard and applying it to your own characters might create a very different story.
There are many interesting background stories or settings that you could use, and adding your own characters into the story will create a very different story, and could have a dramatically different outcome.
Form ideas from what you’ve seen
Mixing elements from some of the stories you’ve seen, read and heard and blending them together could create some original and very cool stories.
Often though, when it comes to writing a new adventure for my roleplaying game I sometimes forget all the great ideas I’ve had and I start to stare at the blinking cursor in front of me. All those ideas are forgotten. That’s because sometimes I simply forget to write it down.
Write ideas down
Ideas for stories can come at any time during your day (or sometimes at night – dreams can give you some great inspiration), so it’s important to make a note of them so that you don’t forget about it.
There are a million different ways you can make notes these days, if you’ve got a smart phone you can probably use a notepad app, or if you’re at the computer you can save it in a file, or email yourself some notes. You might want to start carrying a small notepad around with you to scribble ideas down and keep them all in one place, or you could just write it down on a scrap of paper, or on the back of your hand.
Act upon them
Of course there’s no point creating and collecting up all these ideas if you’re not going to do something with them! Many times when my life is being hectic, I find this the most difficult part to do. I can come up with ideas when I’m driving to work, or drinking a coffee, but sometimes have a real problem writing them down. What I had to do was force myself to have a few hours uninterrupted so I could sit down at my computer and write it all down into a story. If I need to I can look at my notes that I created during the day to jog my memory.