This is a simple, yet potentially effective, method for brainstorming fictional stories, and coming up with fresh ideas.
This approach can work for any type or length of story. Depending upon whether you aim to write flash fiction, a longer short story, a novella, or a novel, you will need to consider how much you develop and complicate your initial ideas. Smaller stories, with fewer characters and usually no subplots, work best for short fiction, and this is particuarly true for flash fiction.
Think of an object, and write down, or simply imagine, three to five specific details about the object.
Think of a location. Write down, or imagine, three to five details about the location. The more vivid these can be, the better, although it’s best not to overthink it.
Think of a person. A main character. And three to five details about the character.
Consider any additional characters. Who are they? Begin to imagine them in the fictional location you chose. Think about the object, and its relevance.
What are the characters doing? Saying? Why?
Not every story idea will necessarily be one that you want to use. Generate ideas, without expectation, removing any internal pressure you might feel, to come up with a “perfect” story, an excellent plot, and amazing characters. Some ideas work out and some come to nothing – and that is honestly fine.
I discuss my struggles, as a fiction writer, in another post.