“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”
—Louis L’Amour

10 Short Story Ideas

We are over at letswriteashortstory.com today talking about short story ideas to help you write your next short story. Read the full post here: 10 Short Story Ideas.

Most writers have too many short story ideas, not too few. However, therein lies the problem, because the more ideas you have, the harder it can be to choose the best one.

short story ideas

Here’s my advice: If you’re in the mood to begin a new short story, stop trying to find the best short story idea.

The best short story idea in the world won’t help you if you don’t write it, and a mediocre idea can be made into an award winning story if it’s written well. Stop worrying about finding the best idea and choose one that’s good enough (or even an idea you’ve already started). Your goal isn’t to have the best ideas, it’s to have the best short stories. But you have to write them. 

What if you committed to writing one short story per week? Or one poem/chapter of your novel/scene in your screenplay per week? How would developing a writing habit transform your life?

Why not use these ten short story ideas to write your first ten stories, one per week, over the next ten weeks? I promise you, your life will look totally different if you do it.

PRACTICE

Choose one of the ten short story ideas and write for fifteen minutes. Don’t forget to share your practice in the comments section.

Happy writing!

Joe

About Joe Bunting

  • Emmanuel Ajayi Adigun

    I am excited by this short story idea. I have a story to tell. Be with you shortly

  • Kelly Munchwitz

    Hey, Joe. Sorry for wasting your time, but could you send me the link to your article about creating good conflict? I found it about a week ago but I can’t find it again. Thanks!

  • LaCresha Lawson

    I am interested in writing short stories. Thank you.

  • Renee

    Tatum
    Smith sat in the stiff hospital chair. In her thoughts, she was begging with
    God to save her mother from obvious death. Part of her knew it wouldn’t happen,
    while the other part told her it would.

    Tatum pulled at her braid. She stood
    up and walked to the counter, where a young woman was sitting. “Excuse me?”
    Tatum tried. The lady looked up. “Yes? How may I help you,” she said in reply.

    “Can I see Ella Smith? Please?”
    Tatum whispered. “Sorry, but no. The doc says she’s not going to be getting any
    visitors today. Or any day, now,” the woman added softly, as if to herself.

    But Tatum heard. “What do you mean?”
    Tatum demanded. The woman paused in her chair, and Tatum saw worry flash across
    her face. “I’m so sorry. Mrs. Smith is… dead,” the lady sighed. “What? No!”
    Tatum cried. “You don’t mean that!” The woman sighed again, and murmured to
    herself.

    Tatum felt the tears streaming down
    her face, but she didn’t try to hide them. She turned and ran through the white
    door and burst into her mother’s room. No one was present. She looked at the
    readings on the screens beside the hospital bed. They were only an unwavering
    green line, a repeating pattern that meant: NO LIFE.

    Tatum wanted to scream, to kick
    something. She stared at her mother’s body, so still. She tore her gaze away,
    and heard footsteps in the hallway. She didn’t mind when hands grabbed at her,
    pulled her out of the room, down into the waiting room, and out the front door.
    She was turned around, and forced to look into the eyes of the woman at the
    front desk.

    “I’m sorry,” the woman whispered.
    Tatum wiped away fresh tears, and shrugged off the hands that held her. Then,
    she turned and ran away. Once she was behind the building, she sat down on the
    mud and grass, tore at her hair, and screamed.

    The tears were uncontrollable. She
    felt like she was going to die herself. Tatum stood up, and grabbed at herself.
    She tugged at her braid again. One deep breath, two, three, then four.

    Just
    breath, Tatum told herself. She did. And then, she ran to the road. One step
    at a time, she took herself to the place she wanted to be most: her church.

    • 709writer

      Powerful scene; there are few things worse than a daughter being separated from her mother. I like the way you described when Tatum left the building: “she sat down on the mud and grass, tore at her hair, and screamed.” Good work!

      • Renee

        Thanks! I have written a lot of stories, even though I am under thirteen years old. All of my family and friends say that I’ve got great talent. Again, thank you!!!

    • You did a great job with this, Renee! I felt like I was there.

      It surprised me that a nurse at the desk would tell a young girl her mother was dead, and then just let her go like that. I feel like the doctor would come out and tell her, and then someone would sit with her while a family member was called. The writing was vivid, but the scene didn’t quite feel believable. Almost there though!

      The most important thing, though, is to keep writing great stories! Have fun!

      • Renee

        Thanks for the advice. I’ve never lost a family member, so I wouldn’t know…

  • 709writer

    Stars dotted the night sky as thirteen-year-old Julia sat on the roof of Kelly’s Orphanage. She always chose the flat spot on the roof above the balcony, so she could lean against the chimney, which would be warm from the hearth inside the building.

    But it was past curfew, almost eight ‘o’ clock, and the fire was out for the night.

    Julia hugged her knees and rested her chin on top of them as she gazed up at the sky. A few wispy clouds still trailed across the dark blue over her head. She braced herself and pulled her jacket’s collar tighter around her as a gust of cold air brushed by, pushing her hair into her face. She tucked her hair behind her ears.

    Voices from below caused her to look down into the front yard. She spotted a woman hugging a girl about Julia’s age in front of the porch. A familiar ache squeezed Julia’s heart as the woman swung the girl around. Then the woman set down the girl, who slipped her smaller hand into the woman’s gloved one. Together the two headed up the stone path to the street and climbed into a parked car.

    As the car pulled away from the curb and its taillights disappeared around the corner of another street, Julia shut her eyes and tried to remember, again, what her mother had looked like.

    Her mind created the fuzzy image of a woman with soft green eyes and a smile. Two tiny dimples depressed the centers of her cheeks. Julia felt the woman’s arms envelop her and hold her close, so close she could hear the woman’s heartbeat.

    The wind picked up, shoving in Julia’s face, and the illusion faded.Tears rushed to her eyes and she buried her face in her knees.

    ~

    I enjoyed writing this; any feedback/suggestions would be awesome. Thanks! : )

  • I really like this idea. I can barely finish a short story every month. Could you imagine how much a new(ish) writer could gain by writing a short story every week for a full year?

  • bellama

    I love that! It really gave me a kick to sit down and write and it felt awesome. Since i am not native English speaker, i hope i didn’t do too many mistakes. Shoot me your feedbacks!

    “He was an awkward guy anyway, who would drink whiskey with ice?” – thought Edda while swiping the blood off her brand new white Mustang.

    She was the sort of person who didn’t trust people drinking whiskey on the rocks. They don’t know what they want. They change sides too easily and will let you down in the last moment when it’s too late for you. No, Edda trusted people who enjoyed a good old scotch neat or eventually a glass of water with ice when they felt thirsty. All your future decisions are in the glass in front of you – and when you work in certain circles of New York, your life can depend on that. So choose wisely, my friend.

    2 minutes later Edda was already on the road, lit up a cigarette and elegantly fixed her lipstick. Who would think that 3 months ago she was just an average housewife with Italian roots from Manhattan who turned away when there was a violent scene on TV. But before going into details, let me introduce myself: I’m John Stafford, chief police officer in New York and the inamorato of Edda.

  • JohnOscar Lundgren

    This is a story i have been telling for over 40 years.Feedback/suggestions welcome.

    All my adolescent life I dreamed of going to State College to study Art.The first week I meet a “older women” from my rather affluent high school.I had known of her from fleeting encounters in the high school art program.

    The fact that she enthusiastically recognized me sparked my eighteen year old logic to assume she had been pining over me for her first two years of college.

    Sandy blond hair, freckles and the aura of cannabis and patchouli fueled my enchantment.Looking into the sleeve of her white cotton blouse I was fascinated to see a tuft of strawberry blond hair under her arm.

    She ushered me to her “kinetic”sculpture consisting of 2×4’s,plexiglass and plastic tubing.A light brown liquid pooled at the bottom.I feared she would deem me naive for my confusion,until I spotting a bear shaped container. She turned the “sculpture”on end and became mesmerized by the the honey dripping through the tubing.

  • A.M. Jackson

    “I think we should see other people.”
    The moment they escaped his lips, Haley turned white in shock. It seemed like every universe ever made had collided inside her stomach. Her legs turned to jelly, but she couldn’t move.
    Alfred began to walk away, as if nothing happened.
    She felt a sudden fleet of anger. She grabbed his hand and pulled him to face her.
    “Are you kidding me?”
    He studied her, trying to figure out if she was legitimate. “Of course I’m not. It’s not working out, Haley. Sorry to tell you on such short notice.” With that, he turned to walk away again.
    She stayed anchored to the ground, her heart in her throat, and an extra in her stomach. Her and Alfred had been dating for six weeks, and she had become infatuated with him in a matter of days. When they showed affection, she felt her really meant it. It turns out, those feelings were ephemeral.

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  • crystal johnson

    The day I died is the day I lived. How did I lived? I lived in darkness,

    Haunted by entities I see in my dreams, seeing demons in human form.

    Mortals idolizing demons, it sickens me;

    I am Death incarnate,

    Well at lease I’m trying to have standards.

    Let me tell you about the day I died.

    It was the usual routine, collecting souls

    To enter heaven, until I arrived to

    Room 6A, at Ararat General Hospital,

    Ariya Davis, cancer patient, no friends, no family

    At first, it was a simple collection,

    but to my surprise, she was expecting me.

    I froze when I heard her voice asking,

    “Are you here for me?”

    My heart twinged,

    I replied,

    “You’re not afraid of me.”

    Ariya replied,

    “Should I be?”

    I’m dumbfounded by her fearlessness of the supernatural,

    Back and forth with my inner voice, I raised my head to the heavens,

    asked God, what does this mean?

    Still working on it, any feedback will be helpful.