Hello, fellow fiction writers! (and you non-fiction gang as well)
I thought I would bring you a method that I, personally, have used for many years now to come up with plots on the fly, and end up with so many that there’s no way I could ever write them all in my lifetime.
Ready to learn? Sure you are! That’s why you clicked!
So, it all boils down to two words… “What if.”
Let me explain…
I can look at any object, think about any person or place, and ask the question, “What if?”
Next to my desk is a pixie stick. I looked at it, and asked, “What if…” and my imagination took over…
What if the world was slightly different than it is now, and, at the company that makes these pixie sticks, there was a mischievous elf employed?
What if that elf decided to, one day, add a little magic powder to the sugary mix?
What if a young woman got that pixie stick and ate it… and was suddenly able to see all of the magical creatures that are normally hidden from our eyes… what would her life lead to?
That would, I think, make a pretty cool story for children or young adults.
How about another example?
A water bottle.
What if a water bottle had been owned by a man that ended up having a heart attack at the moment he drank from it? What if, as he died, his soul became trapped within the bottle?
What if the bottle was then given as a donation to a thrift shop, and was then purchased by a woman? What if, upon drinking from it, the soul of that man entered into her, and she became possessed by him?
What if she had once been raped by a man with a similar personality to him? Or, even more dramatically, what if it WAS the man that now possesses her?
Boom… horror story plot.
Or, you could twist it around a little bit…
What if the man had been planning to ask his girlfriend to marry him the day he died? What if the woman that is now the vessel for the man’s soul feels sorry for him and goes to the girlfriend to talk to her?
What if, upon meeting her, things get quite mixed up and a love of a different kind is found?
That would make quite a romance story!
How Does It Work?
In effect, by asking the question, you are allowing your imagination to come forward with an impulse. The idea is to grab the impulse that comes and just let it flow. Just go with it, wherever it may take you.
“Ride the wave,” as I call it.
Now, I have been using this technique for a lot of years, and so, for me, it comes very quickly and easily. It may take you a little bit of time to get used to the impulses that come when you ask your imagination the question.
I believe, however, that with practice, anyone can do what I do with this technique.
I do the same thing when sitting to do outlining of a novel or story. Each chapter that I outline gets asked the same question.
I think that if you use this, yourself, you could probably come up with more plot ideas than you would ever know what to do with…
… and, as a fiction writer, that is an incredibly powerful place to be in.