The List of 25: The Only ‘Writing Trick’ I Know
I just used this on my current short story.
You’re writing along. Things are going well.
Then, they’re not going well.
Don’t take the day off to sulk aka “Think about it.”
Open a new documents.
Click on the Numbering thingee (each Enter drops in the next number).
Come up with 25 ideas for how to go on.
They don’t have to make sense.
They don’t have to fit.
Just come up with as many ideas as you can think of to continue your story. Silly, dumb, weird.
Let’s say you’re writing a story about a heroine who is walking up the stairs of her grandmother’s attic. It’s a fantasy story, so it’s gotta be something fantastic up there, right?
That’s the solution to your story, but it isn’t working. So you can come up with ideas that wouldn’t fit a fantasy, but would fit a contemporary drama about a woman learning about her past. No fantasy, no horror…unless you think of some fantasy/horror ideas.
OK, let’s dive in to some ideas for our Heroine:
She goes up to the attic and finds a bunch of bodies. Her beloved grandmother, who spoke of her life in the South, remembering her great grandmother, a former slave…has a half-dozen corpses in her attic.
(2) There is a family of raccoons living up there. They looks at her plaintively, eager to be fed.
(3) An alien spaceship is parked up there. No creatures. Is GRANDMA….
(4) A man is living up there. An escaped convict.
(5) There’s an old mirror that is a passageway to another world.
(6) There is a very attractive man or woman sleeping in the bed up there, the bed our heroine used to play in.
Just put any interesting, imaginative, or dumb idea down.
Keep pushing until you get to 25, and/or until you get a good idea that you want to write.
I don’t think I’ve ever gotten to 25 before I bailed and went on with the story.