At some point every writer experiences writer’s block. No matter how hard the writer tries they just can’t come up with an interesting story idea. The web can be of help as there are a number of story generators available. Those I have found have small databases and often the same story ideas circle around, limiting the number of good ideas. Well, recently I found one of the best random story generators and it is hosted by Time Magazine. The Random Oscar Winner Generator is very well done, boasting 12,020 unique story tags that are used to generate very detailed ideas. I’ve played with generator frequently and some of the random ideas are very interesting.
With the over 12,000 unique tags this generator can come up with story ideas that I would never imagine on my own so I’ve decided that I’m going to use the generator to determine the starting idea for my next screenplay. So I headed over to the generator and decided that I would take the fourth idea it generates. As I clicked the Keep Playing button I made note of the first three ideas generated because as I writer, you never know when an idea will come in handy. My fourth generated idea was:
An upper-class rich snob and a minister confront adultery, deafness and terminal illness in Long Island
An interesting idea indeed. Unlike so many of the other ideas there is no decade listed here so I can set the story in any decade I want. I’m going to set it in the late 90’s before smart phones, the mass usage of the internet, when a person’s world centred around themselves. We have an idea but we don’t have a story here. Three different plot lines are mentioned here, adultery, deafness and terminal illness and we have only two characters defined, the upper-class rich snob and a minister. Adultery means there needs to be a marriage somewhere so the rich snob will has a spouse. The minister will be male in the story, so does that mean the snob must be a female? What if the snob was in fact a male as well and the spouse was female? Where does the deafness come in? I want to give the terminal illness to the minister.
The one change I am going to make is moving the location of the idea. While the idea originally set in Long Island I’m going to move the location to Canada. It’s a personal thing with me, my screenplays are set in Canada. The question is where exactly in Canada to place it. Upper-Class means it will be one of the larger cities such as the Montreal, Vancouver or Toronto areas. I’m going to have to give this some thought.
So I’m going to get started with building the story. Next week I’ll continue discussing how I’m building this randomly generated idea into a possible story idea. In the meantime, head over to the Generator and find an idea that you too can use to build your next screenplay as well. Enjoy.