How can I get more plot material?


Technically this general post exists already, but it’s simplistic and on my list for rewrites. But, if you mean “more plot material” like any of the following points, then take a look at the Plot and Story Structure tag because the detailed answer exists (sometimes in multiple posts):

  • Putting a plot together from existing story concepts, characters, or world building
  • Connecting plot points with major scenes planned
  • Adding multiple subplots
  • Story feels repetitive with too much focus on the main conflict
  • Writing more exciting plots

If you mean “more plot material” like “inspiration” then:

  1. Play the “what if?” game. Think of cause-and-effect situations branching out of any point in the story and keep them in-line with what you already have, as needed. “What if?” when a story is still in concept form has more freedom than “what if?” when it’s half-written, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth trying at all points.
  2. Make a list of specific things that interest you and see if there’s a potential story in the details. Plots come from conflict, so your thinking should be centered around the subject and what problems could happen.
  3. See it— watch some movies or TV to get ideas. Just be careful about making exact translations from screen to print because it doesn’t always work. Different medias types have different strengths and weakness when it comes to storytelling.
  4. Hear it— listen to music and see what it brings to mind. Just be careful about what the mind produces because it can have the same problem as movies or TV. The key is to take inspiration rather than imagining a perfect scene that can’t properly translate to text.
  5. Read it— you know for sure it works in novel form if it’s been done before. Reading is not only a great way to get more ideas, but it can help further skills by teaching through example and variation over all the ways things can be done.
  6. Who is your protagonist? The plot revolves around them and they should be making choices that affect it, so do some character diving. Don’t be afraid to mess around and change part of who they are for a test.
  7. Predict a trend. Perhaps more useful for sci-fi or stories making social commentary, but there are a lot of trends in the world and they have the potential for great story concepts. They can even play a small part in a story if they aren’t right for an entire plot.
  8. Read online articles or newspapers for stories. You may be surprised how much good story material there is in the real world. The key here is to take inspiration rather than just copying the idea, unless you find an extra juicy story.
  9. Research. There are an endless number of things to learn about; use that vast knowledge to find something worth writing about. It’s not always about learning brand new things to, it helps to supplement what you already know with more info.
  10. Talk it out. Verbal communication is always helpful when it comes to brainstorming ideas, often better than text since it lets things flow better. The person you’re conversing with can also help with the idea process.

There are near endless ways to get inspiration, but that’s a decent start.

Good luck with your work!


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