Where to find Inspiration

The Mental Block – it can happen to the everyone at some point. You get stuck for ideas and the muses have not seen fit to bless you. This is something that is true for established writers and designers as well as those new to writing and creating plots and stories- Where to draw inspiration from?

There are many sources out there, and today I’m going to be covering just a few of them, some will be more obvious to a few of you, but many other people will be either “Oh I hadn’t thought of that” or forgot about it – It happens to us all and I include myself in that! The biggest hurdle is, for me at least, deciding WHAT to write about or use as the focus for the event or story.

  • The area around you – Close your eyes, move about randomly. Then open your eyes. The first thing you focus on, write about that. If it’s a fantasy genre, the item could be enhanced and used to belong to a famous assassin. How did they use it? What was a major event in its history.
  • Look out the window – A variation of the above, but this time you are not confined to what is in the same room. If you see a tree, for example, that tree could be the site of an important historical event. What happened there, why was a tree planted there and so on
  • Grab a book near you – Take any book, don’t look at the title. Use the subject matter of the book as the source of material. Your local library is a perfect source for this. Literally, any book can be used for inspiration in this way. A technical manual, a cookbook, even a trade listing.
  • TV Shows & Movies – So many plots, tropes and events to be used as starting blocks for your own ideas
  • Websites – This could be considered to be a variation of the “Books” source.
  • Other Genres – This one is easier to implement than you might think. Say for example you are running a high-fantasy game and one day you watch a sci-fi show. You enjoyed it, but feel a little down you can’t use the plot/events in your game. Well, don’t get upset because you can, and it’s easy! That starship is now an airship, flying through the clouds. That planet is now a far-off island in the middle of the ocean, that alien is now a new beast from the depths of the lower plains etc etc
  • Other GMs – This may seem like cheating, but a great way to get help is from other people. You don’t even have to interact directly with them, you can read adventure/mission reports, stories about events that went on in their world, or even web-based shows like Critical Role or High Rollers. A little tip, though – don’t try and copy the ideas you see from other GM’s directly, but the core idea, such as a battle, a political plot, or even a humorous event as a stage show, can all be used to start your own plot-lines.

Got any other ideas on sources for inspiration? Share them in the comments section!

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