A writer does not need an amazing idea to write a good story. The trick is to write a good story based on any old idea. A good writer is like an alchemist — he can turn any metal into gold.
Aspiring writers often don’t realize it. Instead of doing the work, they sit and whine about lack of ideas. I speak from experience.
An aspiring writer becomes a true writer when he quits whining and takes up the alchemist challenge. Take any old idea and write. Don’t have even an old idea? Google for writing exercise. It doesn’t matter if they all seem lame. Once I found an exercise that went something like this: think of a conflict scenario and write it out in most general story beats. Then, based on those beats, write several stories, each in a different genre, and see where imagination will take you.
My general beats were as follows:
- A has something precious
- A shares it with B
- B tries to take it away from A
- What does A do?
I was going to write a romance about how Anna introduces her new boyfriend to her friend Betty, and Betty ends up seducing the boyfriend. I had an idea for a spy story that involved double agents, fake documents, and a world political crisis. I never came up with plots for the western and si-fi stories.
The Adept, a fantasy story, is the only one of that series that ever got written. It’s about a young alchemist who realizes that the idea of sprinkling mysterious powder on a metal in order to turn it into gold is rather foolish. However, if you apply some form of energy to that metal, it might just work.
The story is available on Amazon, if you want to check it out.