Episode 57: Free Plot Ideas to Run With


In a previous post, I pointed to ways that writers could generate plot ideas. Well, let’s go to the next step. Below you’ll find a quick synopsis of several plot ideas that I’ve tossed around over the years. Most of these are basic, but my hope is that they generate new writing projects for you.

  1. The protagonist gets thrown into a world that is completely unfamiliar and must deal with the change (specifics: forced to return to a small town, stuck in the wilderness, isolated in a spacecraft/biosphere/building/submarine, running a new business for a family member, mistaken for someone else, transported to a different time/world, struck by a debilitating illness/injury, surviving a nearly earth-destroying catastrophe alone or with a few survivors).
  2. The protagonist must track down a valuable item (specifics: uncovering a lost secret, finding a hidden treasure, discovering a cure, saving a kidnapped family member/friend/love interest, participating in a Carmen-Sandiego style romp around the world to locate various items, the seven pieces of whatever must be found to save the world).
  3. The protagonist must stop something from happening (specifics: his/her own death, world-ending catastrophe, antagonist bent on forcing an agenda, personal tragedy, loved one’s death, losing love interest, forest or other habitat from being destroyed, an innocent person from going to jail/being put to death, a vehicle crashing and killing lots of people, being fired, a terrorist attack, deaths of fellow soldiers/unit/special team).
  4. The protagonist must make something happen (specifics: put a perpetrator behind bars, complete a complex project before time runs out, deliver an important cure/antidote/supply, reach a specific destination, raise sufficient money/support, finding a love interest within a specified time limit, uniting divided factions).
  5. Protagonist must solve a complicated problem (specifics: solve a murder or other criminal mystery, train for and attempt a sporting or academic goal, compete in a fantasy/sporting/academic tournament, navigate a fantasy academy, achieve a career goal, survive summer camp, attract a seemingly unattainable love interest).
  6. Protagonist must deal with personal turmoil, life changes, or other challenges (specifics: addictions, marital/relationship strife, religious/spiritual journey, job search, world travels, family history, long lost love interest returning, end of high school/college, end of summer camp, start/end of military duty).
  7. Protagonist must defeat something (specifics: social injustice, corporate corruption, political corruption, legal corruption, church corruption, man-eating lizards, robots from Timbork, aliens from Vega, antiquated social customs, dragons, ocelots, an army of mercenaries, bureaucracy, a city ordinance, poachers, a mad librarian).

And, if all else fails, you could simply throw in some zombies.

Leave any plot ideas you’re willing to share in the comments.

8 Responses to Episode 57: Free Plot Ideas to Run With

  1. Great ideas! Already have the brain in overload w/ stories!

  2. Elisabethany says:

    ZOMBIEZ!!!!!!

  3. Kim says:

    Surprisingly awesome article, most helpful in brainstorming ideas!! Thank you :)

  4. Ofelia says:

    Great blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere?
    A theme like yours with a few simple adjustements would really make my blog
    jump out. Please let me know where you got your theme.
    Bless you

    • Thank you for your kind words. I’m pretty cheap when it comes to web design. So, the theme was simply a standard theme from WordPress.com called “Contempt.”

  5. Anony says:

    Very simple, yet extremely helpful tool. Thank you very much.

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