Join 3,501 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


A dark alley, a knife, and a drunk mime. Go.
July 8, 2009 8:49 PM   Subscribe

WritingFilter: Got the urge to write, but not sure what to write about? Want to practice your freewriting skills? Try these short story idea generators.

Short Story Ideas will randomly generate characters with attributes and personality traits, scenarios with a location, theme and an object of significance, generic titles and even a generic first line for your story.

S/Cally's Short Story Ideas Generator will generate a more shallow, less-verbose character/setting/conflict combination but should still give you something to write about.

Seventh Sanctum's story generator generates really off-the-wall scenarios for those on a fantastical bent. The site also has generators of many other sorts and is worth checking out.

If none of these provide enough inspiration, then check out this previous FPP's links to the movie plot generator and the conspiracy theory generator.
posted by Ziggy Zaga (30 comments total) 99 users marked this as a favorite

 
Thanks.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:56 PM on July 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Fantastic, thank you.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:59 PM on July 8, 2009


This is so awesome! Thanks.
posted by jnaps at 9:12 PM on July 8, 2009


Aren't ideas the easy part? It's the not concluding that you're a worthless hack after the first two lifeless sentences fail to lead to a third that's the difficulty.
posted by TimTypeZed at 9:17 PM on July 8, 2009 [10 favorites]


This is an action comedy with an undercurrent about how people miss the obvious. The story is about a detached advertising executive with a chemical dependency. It starts in a library in Hiroshima. The fall of the Soviet Union plays a major part in the story.
*epiphanic fugue*
I must write now.
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 9:23 PM on July 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty sure that "How to Live Forever" from the first one is identical to the HP Lovecraft story Celephaïs.
posted by Electrius at 9:27 PM on July 8, 2009


I'm pretty sure that "How to Live Forever" from the first one is identical to the HP Lovecraft story Celephaïs.
posted by Electrius at 12:27 AM on July 9 [+] [!]


It might be; the guy acknowledges previous influences in other cases when it's brought to his attention.
posted by Ziggy Zaga at 9:30 PM on July 8, 2009


Now I need an online app to stop time completely, and another to administer controlled doses of adderall to keep me focused.
posted by shoebox at 9:31 PM on July 8, 2009


TVTropes has a good generator, too.
posted by not_on_display at 9:41 PM on July 8, 2009


Also try here.
posted by pemberkins at 9:52 PM on July 8, 2009


shoebox, here's the next best thing.
posted by gnomeloaf at 9:53 PM on July 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


The character generator spits out nothing but white people with Anglo-Saxon names. Come on now!
posted by Go Banana at 10:03 PM on July 8, 2009


The character generator spits out nothing but white people with Anglo-Saxon names. Come on now!
posted by Go Banana at 1:03 AM on July 9 [+] [!]


If you need something more representative, try the name generator based on the 1990 US Census Bureau's statistics.
posted by Ziggy Zaga at 10:10 PM on July 8, 2009


The character generator spits out nothing but white people with Anglo-Saxon names. Come on now!

And that's what Metafilter is for.


said Garbanzo Bang-Bang Fallopian.

posted by smoke at 10:18 PM on July 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Much better!
posted by Go Banana at 10:21 PM on July 8, 2009


Oh my god, thank you! Awesome.
posted by scody at 10:22 PM on July 8, 2009


"Aren't ideas the easy part? It's the not concluding that you're a worthless hack after the first two lifeless sentences fail to lead to a third that's the difficulty."

I couldn't help but notice you only typed two sentences. Perhaps it was a self-fulfilling prophecy. Perhaps the third sentence isn't so rough after all.
posted by hypersloth at 11:38 PM on July 8, 2009


Is robocop is bleeding going to regale us with improv stories set up by these setting generators?

Cuz that would be awesome.
posted by JHarris at 1:43 AM on July 9, 2009


And just in time for my day off!
posted by Acey at 2:32 AM on July 9, 2009


metafilter is the location, snark the theme. A glorified mad-libs is an object that plays a part in the story.
posted by idiopath at 3:24 AM on July 9, 2009


In all seriousness, I liked the S/Cally's one best, because it did not distract me with the repeating template. It kind of reminded me of those toys where you could separately rotate pieces that gave a character a head / body / legs, the sole point of which seemed to be the cheap thrill of making a cartoon character cross-dress.

Do things like this lead people to writing? I always was told I was a good writer but have never seem to be able to do any real writing since I graduated highschool and stopped getting assignments that made me have to write.
posted by idiopath at 3:34 AM on July 9, 2009


ideopath, the one time I've written any kind of fiction since junior high was for an interactive fiction mini-competition that laid out a set of arbitrary parameters and added a fixed time limit for execution. Having those factors predetermined made the whole prospect of writing quite a bit less daunting. It turned out to be a lot of fun.
posted by usonian at 5:18 AM on July 9, 2009


You either have to write (fiction), or not. If you have to write, you don't really need these things, I think, but they're fun to mess with. Ideas aren't really the hard part. The hard part is developing them properly with respects to character, and, ultimately, having something to say in terms of the human condition. My two cents.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 6:51 AM on July 9, 2009


That S/Cally link would also make a good drawing-idea generator.
Goes off to draw a blonde bombshell granny at a police station flying a rickety kite.
posted by TochterAusElysium at 7:36 AM on July 9, 2009


The character generator spits out nothing but white people with Anglo-Saxon names. Come on now!


Great, you're a shoo-in to get published in the New Yorker.
posted by scratch at 8:39 AM on July 9, 2009


Also: Don't lots of African Americans have "Anglo-Saxon" names, to wit, Jackson, Robinson and so forth?
posted by scratch at 8:41 AM on July 9, 2009


Do things like this lead people to writing? I always was told I was a good writer but have never seem to be able to do any real writing since I graduated highschool and stopped getting assignments that made me have to write.
posted by idiopath at 6:34 AM on July 9 [+] [!]


You either have to write (fiction), or not. If you have to write, you don't really need these things, I think, but they're fun to mess with.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 9:51 AM on July 9 [+] [!]


Well clearly YMMV, but I've always found that I've been my most creative when I'm forced to do something according to someone else's parameters. I end up getting annoyed with the constraints and I go totally nuts with it just to spite the person who gave me the assignment.

In short, I'd alienate all my customers were I a freelance graphic designer.
posted by Ziggy Zaga at 8:51 AM on July 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


A good Anglo-Saxon name is Eadbald Wuffa.
posted by storybored at 8:53 AM on July 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


That is a quality Anglo-Saxon name....

I just meant that the names were pretty boring and stereotypically "white" sounding. The U.S. census link provides a much more interesting range of names.
posted by Go Banana at 9:29 AM on July 9, 2009


now I can stop being lazy and pick off others ideas
posted by manny_calavera at 9:58 AM on July 9, 2009


« Older Neurosecurity: security and privacy for neural dev...  |  Learn to disco dance in under ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments