And because of this, the most powerful short stories have what James Scott Bell describes as the “one shattering moment.” In his book, Bell describes that moment as “something that happens to a character, an emotional blast which they cannot ignore.
It changes them, in a large or a subtle way — in a way that cannot be ignored.” Any one of the popular themes listed above could you give your main character a shattering moment that would change that character’s life or perspective.
So, you’ll get to explore more story topics in less time than if you were writing longer works.
But how do you generate short story ideas that are worth the time you’ll invest in crafting a short story your readers will love?
But the way you embody and develop that idea should surprise your readers and evoke an emotional response in them.
Short story ideas will look different from novel ideas, though — mainly because short stories have to make a big impact with fewer words.You’ll find one or more of the ten themes that follow in most stories that have been written, read, and shared over the centuries.The story idea itself — in its simplest form — doesn’t have to be original, and in fact, it shouldn’t be.Take a look at the following creative story ideas, many of which combine two or more of the popular themes listed, and feel free to modify any of them to create your next unputdownable short story. Your character’s loved one has died, and he learns while going through that loved one’s belongings that the latter had a terrible secret that unnervingly correlates to your character’s deepest fear.The rest of the story explores your character’s reaction to this discovery and how it affects his/her relationships and decision-making.Because of this, either one might lead you to a story idea that you can hardly wait to explore.Take one (or more) of those popular themes and combine them with a context that is both unique and relatable, and you have the formula for a compelling story idea.Story writing ideas are generally more fully developed than writing prompts.It’s not unusual, for example, to begin with a writing prompt, develop it into a story idea, and then write the actual story.The aim of writing prompts for short stories is to get you started on a new short story.Related: How to Publish Your Kindle Book The prompt could be as simple as a word or as detailed as a character sketch or an elevator pitch. It could be an observation you make while (discreetly) people-watching.