Countdown to rewrite: 18 days
New ideas come from everywhere. I am inspired by anything and everything--and every once in a while, one of those random ideas is actually worth exploring. After all, the greatest stories often have humble, even odd, beginnings.
You may or may not have clicked on the tab at the top of my page that says "Dungeonball." It's something my husband and I have been developing collaboratively for several months, and we are now trying to finalize the mechanics so we can focus more on the design. Mostly, that means we've had to play-test the game... a lot.
A few days ago, I had the opportunity to play-test the game after finishing the 'reading' portion of our home-based writing group. Three of my friends played as heroes, and I was one of three playing as monsters. During our battle for the Dungeonball, something inside me just clicked.
"Guys," I said, "I just had an awesome idea. What if there was an actual world with this sport?"
From there, it was idea after idea, molding, shaping, changing, playing... I actually quit playing the game, letting someone else take over for my dragons, while I scribbled down my thoughts on a nearby notebook.
So. From here, I have a Story Starter for the writers out there:
Take a look at your favorite board game. This could be anything from party games to hardcore DnD. You'll probably find it easier to use a game with "characters," but you don't necessarily need them.
Then, find an aspect of the game that you can apply to a story. It's easy to steal a character idea, a little more difficult to steal one of the game's goals, and most difficult to steal one of the game's mechanics, at least for me.
For instance, look at Monopoly. You could pull out a character who has a compulsive need to buy whatever he sees. You could use the idea that a person or company is taking over an area with their vast wealth, bit by bit. Or, you could imagine that monopolies have been legalized, and trading properties in exchange for a place to stay the night is now common.*
Now go write. Maybe you've got something to throw away, just used for practice... but maybe, just maybe, you've struck a golden idea. The only way to really know is to get out there and write.
*And yes, you're free to use those ideas. :) I'm not so good with economics, so writing a story like that would be ridiculously tough for me.