CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS

July 19, 2012

How to Find Story Ideas


CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

HOW TO FIND STORY IDEAS

As a freelance writer I’m often asked Where do you get your story ideas? I must say I have no problem, which is why I avoid any workshop or group that examines sources of story ideas.

I’ll skip past the boring answer—that the newspaper editor suggests them—my editors rarely assign me stories, as I submit sufficient story ideas to avoid that.

Below is a list of story sources and the story they yielded.

  • Talking with my doctor during an appointment: a New Year’s Day story on his marriage proposal
  • Walking about the neighborhood: a story about a semi-annual trash day from the viewpoints of trash gatherers and trash providers
  • Observation of neighborhood activities: Watching  the Armory from my upstairs study window peaked my curiousity about the history of the Armory
  • Attending writer’s groups: a story on Celtic spirituality
  • Referrals from people I’ve interviewed: a horn-playing woman
  • Attending meetings:
  • Eavesdropping: story about a Grand Slam—hunting four different kinds of bear
  • At the neighborhood diner: story of a man who was healing from a tragic accident
  • Banking: story of a pregnant woman who suffered injuries from a terrific accident which left her with leg amputation
  • Newspaper articles:  Collection of bear stories
  • Sitting on my front porch: people come to me with story ideas
  • Family situations: My being discovered by a sister my mother released for adoption
  • Journaling: Sometimes just a record of what a day brings
  • Genealogy: Charles F. Walker, a Civil War Veteran whose gravesite does not have a requisite paper trail
  • Attending events: a Native American speaks at a local event; Blue Angel air show
  • “I want to know” subjects: heart disease in women
  • Photographs: a house being moved by barge down the Piscataqua River (divides New Hampshire and Maine at Portsmouth, New Hampshire)
  • Meeting a challenge: write a six-word story

Mostly, story ideas come from knowing that each person has a story, and in being aware of the fact that if I am interested in a subject, someone else will also be interested.

Story ideas surround us. Look around and pluck out an idea that interests you and start writing.

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Where do you find stories you like to write about? Share your search results in the comment box below.

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ADDITIONAL READING:

A Popular Author’s Love Affair With the Word ‘AND’: Part A

Six-Word Stories

Two Haikus: Cardiac Ultrasound Inspired

INTEGRITY: A JOURNALISTIC CODE OF ETHICS REVIEW

THE ART OF THE INTERVIEW: Things Writers Should Know

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