Idea but no plot: 50 prompts that might help

Like I said the other day, I’ve been working towards being more creative by coming up with various lists of things. Wednesday was 100 things to research and/or write about. Today, I came up with 50 things that could help you if you had an idea for a story but no plot.

The prompts are to get the brain moving, and to think around your idea as well as how you feel about your idea. Like, if you wanted to write a story about bullying and its effects but you had no idea what to do. You could pick a few prompts and get listing, and start to think about the things that need to happen for you to best express your theme.

At the end of the day, they help me. Before, I would come up with ideas and never figure out how to write them into a story. When I started doing things like the prompts below, I found I was actually able to write a plot! So, enjoy!

  1. 10 ways to express your theme as personal characteristics
  2. 10 metaphors linked to your theme
  3. 10 physical locations that can be linked to your theme
  4. 10 books, films and TV shows that feature similar themes to yours
  5. 10 genres and categories and how your theme might be expressed in each of them (e.g. loss and forgiveness in horror, crime drama etc…)
  6. 10 things that have happened to you that evoke your theme
  7. Freewrite for as long as possible about what you want to say, and how you might say it (no censuring yourself)
  8. 10 kinds of people: how would each of them deal with your theme?
  9. 10 physical actions related to your theme
  10. How could your theme be expressed via a fight scene
  11. 10 typical ways your theme is expressed in books, films and TV shows
  12. 10 clichés associated with your theme
  13. Top 10 favourite characters: how would they deal with your theme
  14. 10 ways your theme could result in happy-ever-afters
  15. 10 ways your theme could result in unresolved issues
  16. 10 different emotions linked to your theme
  17. 10 ways in which you could mess this up
  18. 10 ways to express your theme via the absence of your theme (i.e. the theme of family, expressed via a character with no family)
  19. 10 physical objects that represent your theme
  20. 10 conflicts that express your theme
  21. 10 indirect ways to express your theme
  22. 10 direct ways to express your theme
  23. 10 animals that represent your theme
  24. 10 reasons why this is a terrible idea and you’re better off writing something else
  25. 10 reasons why you need to write about this idea
  26. 10 physical responses to your theme
  27. 10 photographs that appear when you Google Image search your theme
  28. 10 unlikely settings you weren’t thinking about when trying to figure out where to set your story
  29. 10 endings to your story
  30. 10 ways a character could learn the theme of your story
  31. 10 things stopping your character learning the theme of your story
  32. 10 conflicts that have nothing to do with the theme of your story
  33. 10 reasons your characters are (or would be) boring
  34. 10 ways the weather could express your theme
  35. 10 ways geography could express your theme
  36. 10 boring ways to tell your story
  37. 10 ways you would deal with your theme
  38. 10 beginnings to your story
  39. 10 interesting situations
  40. 10 high-brow ways to tell your story
  41. 10 low-brow ways to tell your story
  42. 10 ways to express your theme with people completely unlike you
  43. 10 actors who would be so right for the film/film-version of your story. Why?
  44. 10 actors who would be terrible for your film/film-version of your story. Why?
  45. 10 ways you could cheat telling this story
  46. 10 ways to tell your story in the future
  47. 10 ways to tell your story in the past
  48. 10 pieces of information you wish to pass on to your reader/viewer
  49. 10 exciting ways to tell your story
  50. 10 slow-moving ways to tell your story
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