And now… it’s almost time for that month of madness known as NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).
Do you know what the plot of your novel will be? The personalities of each of the main characters? The escalating crisis that will build to your climactic final scene?
Or are you starting from scratch, without a plot or any idea of characters?
If you’re struggling, here are some ideas to help get you started. Feel free to plagiarize anything here. Please add suggestions in the comments section below. I’d love to have some fresh ideas too.
- A woman buys an antique bureau. In the backboard, she finds a mysterious map with a route marked in symbols.
- When he was picked to be Mr. February for the Firemen’s calendar, he thought his romance worries were over.
- The holidays with relatives were always strained, but the couple expected even more discord this year, considering what had happened.
- A woman is killed while walking her dog. Her spirit enters the dog’s body and decides to cohabitate alongside the dog’s spirit.
- The old man sat on the park bench soaking up the warm summer sun when a familiar face walked by that sent a chill up his spine
- It's a freezing cold night. Your character finds a homeless family on your doorstep and invites them into his home to sleep. But in the morning, the family won't leave.
- After an automobile accident, a woman begins to see auras around people’s heads that indicate their good and evil thoughts.
- A huge crowd of the undead stood pounding on the doors of St. Peter’s Cathedral seeking salvation.
- It wasn’t until they were in bed together that she noticed the green reptilian skin on his back.
- What if a lethal virus spread across the world, and vampires were enlisted to help prolong the life of those few people who produced antibodies?
- Children playing in the woods find something odd sticking out of the ground and start digging.
- A woman inherits her Scottish uncle’s castle and possessions, but she must destroy the contents of the attic without examination.
- Write a spin-off article about an interesting historical or scientific topic that is mentioned in your novel.
- Write short stories that can be spin-offs for your major novel characters.
- What if global warming caused large scale melting at the major Arctic regions on Earth? What changes will take place in the world? How much of the world would be under water? In what regions would humans be most likely to survive, and how would those regions cope with the tremendous influx of people?
- What if the bees on Earth died off? Write about the ‘trickle-down’ effect of that loss on crops, food, animals and humans.
- You are the patient of a psychiatrist who has been murdered, and you think you know who killed him.
- While planting a tree in the back yard of your new house, you accidentally dig up human bones.
- You suspect that your next door neighbor is a witch, and you decide to investigate and learn more.
- You put down your dog’s food, but today he ignores it. Instead, he sits down and begins talking to you, starting with what he’d really like to eat this morning, the errands he wants you to run with him, and the things he needs your help to accomplish.
- While visiting the art museum, you stop in front of a particular scene, and find you can step into the painting and be transported there.
- A group of friends band together to survive following a nationwide terrorist attack on the country’s energy infrastructure.
- My next door neighbors, The Johnsons, were all asleep in their coffins when I climbed the fence to get the ball.
- Your character's car breaks down when he is driving home from a business trip late at night. Fortunately, there is a hotel nearby, so the character decides to stay there and deal with the car in the morning. This hotel is creepy. Why? Create the atmosphere. According to the hotel's policy, the character pays in advance for the night. When he goes up to his room, and things get even creepier. How? Show us. Your character wants to leave the place but tells himself he's being irrational. He's already paid for the room, and he tells himself everything will be fine. But it gets worse. Depending on how you write this, it could be a ghost story, a crime story, a realistic psychological drama, or a comedy. You could even try your hand at all of them and write four stories.
- At a Chinese restaurant, your character opens his fortune cookie and reads the following message: "Your life is in danger. Say nothing to anyone. You must leave the city immediately and never return. Repeat: say nothing."
- In an emergency, a small boy is left to stay with his grandfather for several days. The grandfather pretends to be annoyed at the inconvenience, but, secretly, he is delighted. He adores the boy. He is embarrassed about displaying emotion, so he acts gruff with the child, who is therefore frightened of him at the beginning of the visit. Show the old man's actions, but also let his real feelings show through.
- At the airport, a stranger offers your character money to carry a mysterious package onto the plane. The stranger assures your character that it's nothing illegal and points out that it has already been through the security check. Your character has serious doubts, but needs the money, and therefore agrees.
- At a garage sale, your character buys an antique urn which she thinks will look nice decorating her bookcase. But when she gets home, she realizes there are someone's ashes in it.
- Your character starts receiving flowers and anonymous gifts. She doesn't know who is sending them. Her husband is suspicious, and the gifts begin to get stranger.
- Your character meets someone on an online dating site. Your character writes an e-mail to the person, describing him/herself. Write the e-mail. This e-mail contains two lies. What are they? Why did the character tell them? Also: your character has a very mistaken idea of the impression he/she makes on other people. What impression does your character think he/she makes? What impression does he/she really make? Figure all this stuff out. If you want, fill out a character profile. Your character arranges an in-person meeting with the person he/she has met online. What happens at the meeting? Write the story.
- While housesitting his teenage grandson while the parents are on an extended vacation, Grandpa Reed discovers that his grandson has a small marijuana plantation behind the garage. Grandpa confronts the grandson, who, instead of acting repentant, explains to him exactly how much money he is making from the marijuana and tries to persuade Grandpa to join in the business.
Next week’s blog is on Dia de Los Muertos, traditions for Day of the Dead, which runs from October 31-November 2.
In the meantime, get those NaNo ideas churning!