Keep those ideas handy!
It seems almost every author interview includes the question 'where do you get your ideas?' Ideas spurt from our imaginations at an alarming rate, too fast to ever record them all. The trick is to find a plot worthy idea, one that can extend through a whole novel.
One way to check your idea for substance is to dot point all the things that could possibly happen in that story. If you can come up with at least 20 points, then you could write a chapter for each and there's your novel outline. I like to aim for 40, because some will be rejected or changed as I go.
But if you really need some inspiration to kickstart your ideas (or more likely, just to recognise them as they surface - because I know you have them already), then try these:
Keep a Notebook
You hear it over and over again, but how many of us remember to carry ours around with us at all times? I try to, but if I forget, I have an 'inspirations' section in my iPhone notebook, or I can even record a message (if I'm driving). I've blogged about the sacred notebooks in:
Record Your Dreams
You will feel silly at first and have lots of random images that don't seem to tie together, but flesh it out and you'll see a possible plot emerge. My previous posts on dreamwriting:
Steal from Headlines
The newspapers and current affairs programs are filled with great ideas for stories. Take a headline, without reading the article and start to see what plot-line you can come up with. Who would the characters be and what would the main conflict be? If you want to try this, visit:
There are plenty of writing exercises you can try to come up with new stories. Here's one of the many books I use for writing exercises:
Now, get to that notebook and write! *Should heed own advice*