45+ short story ideas that will spark inspiration
This post is all about short story ideas.
Coming up with short story ideas sometimes happens naturally, but often it doesn’t. We all need a little help kick-starting our inspiration at times, and that’s okay!!
Here are 21 short story ideas PLUS some tips on what kinds of prompts to ask ChatGPT to get the best writing ideas and more unique story prompts.
This post is all about short story ideas.
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14 SHORT STORY PROMPTS:
- A man wakes up in an unrecognizable world where everything is opposite of what he knows.
- A woman wakes up in a post-apocalyptic world and must navigate through the ruins of society to find her loved ones.
- A teenage girl is home alone when a black pickup truck that she doesn’t recognize pulls into her driveway.
- A detective must solve the mystery of a string of bizarre robberies that seem to be the work of a supernatural thief.
- Watch an interview with your favorite celebrity and write a fictional short story about what happened before and after that interview.
- A teenage girl must come to terms with her parents’ decision to downsize to a small home in the countryside after living in a big city her whole life.
- Write a whodunit about a mysterious crime in a small religious town where everyone knows each other.
- An old retired couple must call on the help of their family to save their home when they are threatened with foreclosure.
- A college boy reunites with his 10-year-old sister after 5 years of estrangement.
- Two childhood best friends must navigate their friendship when one of them moves overseas in the middle of high school.
- Three siblings must navigate daily life together when their parents leave for a vacation to an undisclosed location and instruct the siblings not to call or text them.
- High school sweethearts must decide whether to continue their relationship when they realize their beliefs and values are vastly different.
- A grandmother appears for a surprise visit to her daughter and grandchildren, only to find out that their house has been abandoned.
- A teenage girl must confront her own identity when she starts to question the values of her parents and the community she grew up in.
21 WAYS TO COME UP WITH YOUR OWN SHORT STORY IDEAS:
- Keep a journal or note in your phone where you write down small observations in your daily life that interest you
- Take inspiration from a news story you’ve seen and recreate it as a fictional story
- Come up with an idea of a mystical or non-human character and use them for inspiration
- Draw on family history to create a fictional narrative
- Use a dream you’ve had as inspiration
- Turn a daydream into a story
- Start with writing fanfiction to get your creativity flowing
- Write a story from the perspective of an animal or inanimate object
- Write a story about a “what if” question (e.g. what if the ocean disappeared?)
- Ask ChatGPT for prompts (e.g. “Give me short story ideas that incorporate themes of rejection”
- Take something you’ve written in the past and put a new spin on it
- Go to a public place and use the first sentence you hear someone say as an opening line to your story
- Research historical events on the internet that interest you and write a historical fiction
- Research a famous public figure of the past or present, re-name them, and re=write their life as a fictional story
- Go to an art gallery and use a painting or other piece of art as inspiration for your story
- Think about the most dramatic thing that happened to you in high school and turn it into a story
- Google deep fears and write about a character that has one of those fears (such as fear of failure)
- Use a story title generator and write a story based on what it gives you
- Use a common cliche and turn it on its head (e.g. instead of writing a story about a “chosen” character, write a story about an outcast character)
- Use writing prompts daily until you come up with an idea you like
- Use your immediate environment – see what captures your attention and use those observations to create a story
10 QUESTIONS TO ASK CHATGPT FOR UNIQUE STORY PROMPTS:
- Give me short story ideas that incorporate the color red
- Give me short story ideas that incorporate the word “puddles”
- Tell me short story ideas where the main character is unlikable
- Give me short story ideas that has an open ending
- Create short story ideas based on the most recent news report you can find
- Create short story ideas that have strong themes of forgiveness and redemption.
- Give me short story ideas regarding an everyday object that leads to the main character’s downfall.
- Tell me short story ideas based on famous historical events.
- Give me short story ideas based on famous works of fiction.
- Tell me short story ideas that incorporate the word “juxtaposition”
You can keep thinking of other prompts to ask ChatGPT, or even ask ChatGPT what you should ask it in order to receive the best short story ideas! This is one of my favorite hacks when I don’t know what to write about.
I often just look around me for the closest and most random object and then type into ChatGPT “give me short story ideas that incorporate a ______ [fill in the blank with the object]. It’s amazing to see what it comes up with and where your mind can then take that idea!