Writers are always thinking, always alert, always looking.
One idea is to create a Writer’s Notebook. Make sure it is small enough to carry with you. Spiral-bound works best. For the next week make it a presence in your life. Carry it with you where you go!
On the inside cover of your notebook write: Story ideas. Spend 10 minutes each day jotting down ideas that could possibly make a good story. When an idea comes to you – from a newspaper story, television, schoolwork, or mall – jot it down. For example, you meet a new neighbor and it gets your mind thinking:
What would it be like to move into a new town?
What if this person moved from another country?
What conflicts could arise?
All these notes are ideas that could later be worked into a story. BUT . . . you don’t need to write in complete sentences. It only needs to make sense to you, something to jog your memory. Jot down your thoughts without worrying if they are “good” or “bad.” This is only for you!
Think of five of your favorite books or movies. Write down the main story idea for each. (Example, Heidi: a young girl is orphaned and is forced to live with her grandfather who doesn’t want her there. The Sound of Music: a young nun doesn’t fit in with convent life and is forced to become a tutor for seven children who’ve lost their mother.)
Now consider, how can you use the major conflicts in your favorite books or movies for your own story? How can the emotions you feel when reading/watching show up in your novel?