Finding Ideas for Your Story

by MaryAnn Diorio, PhD, MFA

One of the most frequent questions I get from people who want to write stories is, Where do you get ideas? This is an excellent question because an idea is the seed of a story.

Just as you need to have a seed to grow a tomato plant, so do you need a seed to grow a story. That seed is called an idea.

Every story starts with an idea. In fact, everything in life starts with an idea. The computer you’re using to read this lesson started as an idea. The chair you’re sitting on started as an idea. You yourself started as an idea in the heart of God!

Ideas are all around us. Here are some places where you can find ideas:

• In the conversations of the people around you;

• In newspaper headlines and articles;

• In television programs;

• In junk mail;

• In advertisements of all kinds;

• In books you read;

• In the struggles of your daily life;

• In the hurts and pain of your past;

• In the triumphs of your past;

• In your accomplishments;

• In your failures;

• In your past history;

• In the past history of your town, your state, and your country;

•I n experiences you’ve had while traveling or working or going to school.

These are just a few of the places where you can find ideas for your story.

The key to finding ideas is to keep your eyes open, your ears open, and your heart open. As you go about your day, keep a small notebook handy at all times. Ideas will come to you at the most inopportune moments — while you’re driving, doing laundry, and, often, while you’re sleeping or about to go to sleep. For this reason, I suggest you keep a notebook by your bedside and at other strategic places. For example, if you spend most of your time in an office, keep a notebook there. If you spend a lot of time in the kitchen, keep a notebook there as well. Of course, always keep a notebook in your pocket or purse.

At the end of each day or each week, review your notebook. Invariably, one or two ideas will jump out at you. Those are the ideas you want to work with first as those are the ones that ignite your writing passion.

Passion for an idea is an indicator that it is a good idea for the story you are called to write.

Bio: Dr. MaryAnn Diorio writes riveting, compelling fiction that deals with the deepest issues of the human heart. Her stories will entertain you, move you, and transform you. MaryAnn has been happily married to Dom for 46 years. They are blessed with two amazing adult daughters, a wonderful son-in-law, and five precious and rambunctious grandchildren. When she is not writing, MaryAnn loves to spend time praising and worshiping the Lord, reading, painting, and playing the piano, cello, and mandolin. You may reach her at

Copyright 2016 by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio, All Rights Reserved and Protected by International Copyright Law. Violators will be prosecuted.

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