The short story writer and the flash fiction writer are in a constant struggle to find new story ideas. This is the best way to create an endless flow of new ideas.
Image via Wikipedia
If you are a writer of short stories or flash fiction, you know there has to be a constant flow of ideas to keep the stories coming. And the ideas have to be good ideas. It’s difficult to make a good story out of a bad idea. So, you want to be able to recognize a good idea when you stumble across it.
Where do good ideas come from? Well, the simplest answer is that good ideas come from life. I know, that doesn’t help much. Let’s go back to the first paragraph which talks about being able to recognize a good idea.
If you put these two things together: being able to recognize a good idea and life, then I think we can figure out a way to keep the good ideas flowing.
The writer needs a standard to measure all ideas against in order to determine whether or not an idea is a good story idea. What are the values that can do this? There are three: a beginning, a middle and an end. This is the yard stick a writer must use to judge an idea’s quality as something good enough to base a story on.
The idea must have a beginning to establish the main characters, locale and to give a hint or to foreshadow what the main tension will be in the story. The idea must have enough substance in it so that the writer can draw out enough inter-action of the characters in the story to keep the reader reading to the payoff. And the idea must contain the seeds of the payoff. If the writer cannot think the idea through to be able to tell if the idea will be able to carry the weight; or, more likely if the writer cannot sit down and work on the idea until it does yield enough material to carry the weight, the writer would probably be better off to move to another idea.
Of course, the new idea will come from life. And life is inexhaustible. So, if the writer can recognize a good short story or flash fiction idea when he or she stumbles across it and if the writer keeps eyes and ears open the flow of good ideas should be endless.