5 Brainstorming Questions To Help You Come Up With A Story Idea

Our Free Kindle Paperwhite Blog Tour For Idea Sparking: How to Brainstorm Conflict in Your Novel is at Janet Holm McHenry’s Blog Today. 


Nanowrimo is just around the corner. Are you staring at a blank page trying to plot, or come up with a story idea? Or maybe you have an idea, but you aren’t sure where to take it. Here are ten questions to get your creative juices flowing.

1. What is your greatest fear? (Can your character have this fear? If you are writing Romance then ask what is your greatest fear about love. For speculative fiction, identify your greatest fear about the world we live in.) For more tips on the greatest fear of your character go to My Book Therapy.

2. What is your character’s favorite fairy tale? Often we can develop a story more just by thinking about what a character’s happily ever after might look like.

3. How could a news headline end differently to create a whole new story? Maybe a crime is unsolved, or a romance undone. Is there a crisis that we should open our eyes to?

4. Who is the most unusual person you’ve ever met? How could you tell a story that made them who they are? Unlikely heroes and heroines draw our attention.

5. What unusual occupation could your character have that would bring out a story that most had never heard? Whenever you have a strong informational bank to draw plot from it makes it easier to keep the story going and your reader interested.

Start a brainstorming question jar to help you come up with new ideas. Add these five questions to your jar. As you think of other ones, add them to the jar as well. When you’re stuck you will have a bank of questions to help you when your brainstorming buddies are not around.

What are some brainstorming questions that you use to jump start your ideas?



About Michelle Lim

Author Michelle Lim is the Brainstorming/Huddle Coach with My Book Therapy Press and the Midwest Zone Director for American Christian Fiction Writers. Michelle’s romantic suspense is represented by Karen Solem of Spencillhill Associates and has gained contest recognition in the Frasier, the Genesis, and the Phoenix Rattler, winning the Genesis in 2015 for her genre. Michelle writes devotionals for The Christian Pulse Online Magazine and Putting On The New. Since her nonfiction book release, Idea Sparking: How To Brainstorm Conflict In Your Novel, through public speaking and online chats Michelle helps writers discover the revolutionary power of brainstorming to bring new life to their stories.

6 thoughts on “5 Brainstorming Questions To Help You Come Up With A Story Idea

  1. Let me give you a for instance. Once I heard a news story where a woman had had amnesia for 10 years and immediately my mind went into over drive. Why would someone wake up, not know who they were and wait ten years to go to the police? Hmmm. Maybe if they woke up and there was a body in the room…and they had a sack full of money…And that’s how I brainstorm. ;-0

  2. JaniceG says:

    Reading blogs can help a person come up with ideas. Comments people make can bring questions and stories to mind.

    Once, many years ago, I walked through a cemetary with a friend. We observed the names and dates of birth and death and then tried to guess from that about their lives. It was a fun activity, and I can see that might work for a story starter.

    The question could be asked when someone you know has just made a big decision how another acquaintance would have handled the decision and the likely result from the other person following through on that decision.

    A person could go to the library and select a book they know nothing about and open to the middle of it and read a few pages to find out what is happening. Then they could close the book and ask what happened before and after the part they read.

    I am just getting into writing so I have not used these ideas. I do enjoy brainstorming and who knows? Maybe someone will benefit from my thoughts. Now I need to go find a jar to start adding your suggestions and mine to the jar. Thanks for the ideas!

    Janice jsmithg(at)hotmail(dot)com

  3. Michelle Lim says:

    Thanks, Janet for sharing your experience! A lot of times we are inspired by the new things we experience.

  4. dtopliff says:

    You have some truly fabulous ideas here–I’m very impressed and lightbulbs went off as I considered my WIP’s favorite fairytale and came up w/ an instant exciting answer. Can’t wait to go write it.
    Thanks, Michelle!

  5. Michelle Lim says:

    Oh, follow that light bulb, Delores! Let me know what you come up with.

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