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What’s A Story Idea or Writing Prompt?

All stories start from somewhere. They begin with a concept, no matter how big or small that concept is. It may be something as complicated as a cowboy who visits the future, or something as small as a story about a horse, but every great story that has ever been told starts from somewhere.

Some of the more classic examples are about the princess being rescued from the dragon or that an unlikely group of heroes ban together to fight evil. Even those simple ideas can be turned into amazing stories that capture the minds of imaginations all across the world – including yours.

The lists in this article are meant to help you generate ideas whether you’re just browsing, have writer’s block or looking to put a spin on an old idea. Consider them writing prompts.

High Concept Ideas vs Low Concept Ideas

Story ideas are typically divided into two types: high concept and low concept.
A low concept story has three major aspects to it:
1) It isn’t easily explained.
2) It talks about everyday life and relationships.
3) It’s character driven.
High concept stories are:
1) It is easily explained.
2) It’s intriguing.
3) It’s event driven.
Perfect examples of these would be a romance novel such as Pride and Prejudice (low concept) versus a thriller like Mission Impossible (high concept).

Story Ideas Based On Plot

Here are 20 story ideas to help spark your creativity:
  1. A divorced couple must work through their issues as they’re stuck in cabin over a weekend
  2. A woman is washed ashore on island and finds out humans aren’t the only race here on earth
  3. A trained assassin is forced to kill someone connected with their past
  4. An teen just learned that they were adopted
  5. A prince was cursed to be a dragon and his kingdom wants to kill him
  6. A child just witnessed their father murder their entire family
  7. Three kids decide to explore the local area’s haunted woods only to find out that ghosts are the least of their problems
  8. A witch had her powers taken from her long ago, but she just found a way to restore them
  9. A couple who met online is going to meet each other for the first time
  10. A blacksmith just discovered he accidentally made a magical sword
  11. A girl falls off a boat and believes she’s going to drown but she portals to another world
  12. A soldier must choose between returning back to his family who needs him or staying in the army and doing his duty
  13. The President’s child is kidnapped by aliens who demand the United States’ surrender
  14. In the future, earth is unlivable and the only ship with human survivors crash land onto an unknown planet
  15. Earth was just merged with another, hostile, magical world
  16. The spokesmen for a kingdom was sent to negotiate with their enemy
  17. An ancient vampire has just awakened and starts turning dozens of humans into vampires
  18. The black plague spreads across the world again
  19. A nerdy girl just discovered time travel and gets stuck back in the time of the dinosaurs
  20. A Russian spy falls in love with an American CSI agent, but neither know the truth

Story Ideas Based On Twist Endings

Here are 20 story ideas with a twist ending:
  1. A husband just learned his wife was cheating on him – with his own father
  2. A happily married couple go on their honeymoon, but find out neither are human
  3. A mermaid falls in love with a man, only to find out he’s actually a vampire
  4. A prince goes to save the princess from the dragon, but the princess doesn’t want to be saved and the prince viciously murders the dragon, her friend
  5. A soldier takes down an entire terrorist organization, only to find out that one of them is his relative
  6. Aliens attack earth but we fight back and beat them into submission. This restarts slavery and almost every household owns an alien slave
  7. In a post apocalyptic Earth, people must fight for survival, only to wake up and discover they’ve been trapped in a video game for decades
  8. A writer discovers they have the power to make anything they write become real, only to accidentally create the world’s worse villain
  9. A mass storm is predicted to soon wipe out most of the coastal cities in the US, but it’s soon discovered that it’s not really a storm; it’s actually the tears of a giant who just woke up
  10. A country boy is close with his favorite horse, only to learn that the horse has really been a woman stuck in her horse form all this time
  11. A serial killer sneaks in a house to slaughter a family, but this family are actually trained assassins and the serial killer is killed
  12. A girl visits her father in prison and the father admits that he covered for her and that the cops will never catch her for what she did
  13. A boy learns he can teleport anywhere on Earth he wants, but he ends up in the office of someone in the government who plans to assassinate the President
  14. A group of sirens lead sailors to their deaths on an island, but they’re actually saving the lives of other innocent people on ships because the sailors they kill are murderous pirates
  15. A druggie’s friend tries to get them to stop drugs, but they don’t, so the friend leaves. That night, the druggie takes more and see a man who tells them, “You’re the only one awake. You have to save them. All of them.”
  16. A girl is doing her makeup in the mirror and posting pictures on Instagram, when someone shouts at her from the other side of the mirror
  17. A witch is captured and burned at the stake, but uses the last of her power to protect her family, who were about to be killed next
  18. A princess is going to be betrothed to a man she doesn’t want to marry, so she murders her parents and takes over the kingdom
  19. A man was just released from prison, but the person who originally set him up, murders him that night
  20. On her wedding day, the bride is extremely nervous, so nervous, that she accidentally changes into a werewolf in the middle of the ceremony.

Story Ideas Based On Kid Themes

Here are 20 story ideas for kids’ stories:
  1.  A dog was dropped off and now searches for his perfect home
  2. A class is on a field trip to a local cave where they discover a journal that takes them back in time
  3. The utensils inside a house come awake at night and they have to find a way to convince the humans to keep them when the humans move
  4. A young girl wins a day with her favorite celebrity
  5. A kid wakes up one day and his pets can speak to him
  6. A group of misfits are determined to win the talent show this year
  7. Santa’s elf is in trouble and needs a little girl’s help to get back to the north pole
  8. A girl discovers a dragon egg in her back yard
  9. While swimming in the ocean, a young boy is saved by a mermaid
  10. A boy and his dog discover a spaceship and sneak aboard just as the ship takes off into space
  11. A girl joins a martial arts school and beats everyone there on her first day
  12. A kid’s cat learns how to fly
  13. In his dreams at night, a young boy can visit any place on earth he wants
  14. In music class, a girl discovers she has music magic
  15. A boy and a girl who don’t like each other get the two lead parts in a school play
  16. A girl visits her horse one day but there’s a unicorn in her barn
  17. A girl drops out of dance class to join basketball
  18. One day, a boy is visited by someone in history that he admires
  19. A boy and his mom go on a road trip together across America
  20. Two sisters go camping with their family for the first time

If you enjoyed this list of story ideas, make sure to check out the post called Story Ideas: 15 Secrets Your Characters Could Be Hiding.

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