Out of ideas? Need fresh inspiration to kick off your next novel? The plot bunnies are rushing by, so grab one (or three) and get busy.
Alone in the Dark
This plot bunny begins with an experiment. Go sit in the dark. Take a phone or flashlight so you can get in and out without tripping over the cat, of course, but spend some quality time away from the light. This works even better in a space where you don’t feel quite safe. Maybe you sit on your bed with the closet doors cracked open. Rest on the stairs and wonder if those creaks you hear are coming or going. If you’re really daring, venture into the darkest part of the basement.
Pay close attention to what you feel – emotionally and physically. What do your senses tell you, and how does your mind interpret it all? This is the basis of great horror: your own fear. Learn what scares you, stick with it for a few minutes, and then immediately write down everything you heard, felt, and imagined.
The Unsung Subplot
What is your favorite subplot? Do you always include a romantic subplot in your fantasy adventures? Is there always a struggling small business to save in your romantic novels? Whether you’re writing your first novel or your fifth, you have some favorite subplots. Consider elevating that subplot to the primary storyline of your next project. Chances are, this will push you a step away from your go-to genre. It’s new territory! Is it scary? Possibly. Is it full of glowing opportunities tied to subject matter you already like? Definitely! Consider it an experiment. Have fun.
Give It a Twist
Spooky season is upon us, which means it’s time for ghost stories and tales of terror. Rather than digging through the fairy tale collection or your mythology textbooks, visit the horror section for inspiration. Take a classic, scary story, and reimagine it. Maybe it’s modern. Maybe the characters are different genders. Perhaps the original POV character was an unreliable narrator. Reach for Dracula, Frankenstein, Carmilla, and Wuthering Heights. They have some ghouls to share.
Look around your room, office, or writing space. Imagine someone has charmed or cursed you. What item in your vicinity bears the charm? If you live in a spartan environment, take a walk, swing by an antique shop, or survey the oddities in your local secondhand store. Find your item. It could be bizarre. It could be disturbing. Maybe it’s funny, or maybe it’s perfectly ordinary. Does the spell do you good or bad? Has it backfired? What kind of object holds it, and what does that object reveal about the caster’s intentions? Build your story from there. Ask who cast it, why they would want to cast a spell on someone, what character stands in your shoes, and what they need to do about it.
What are your favorite fall writing prompts? Do you like to get spooky as the days get shorter, or do you prefer escaping into warmer, cosey stories? Share your thoughts with other writers below.