In fact, just reading a list of writing prompts can usually get my mind going.
I thought I would include a list of sites that can supply you with writing prompts. Doing the exercise of writing, using a prompt once in awhile, will allow you to practice your craft when you aren’t working on your next book.
This last one has prompts posted by individuals from all over the world. You’ll get some interesting scenarios there.
If none of this works for you, think along the lines of what interests you, such as time travel, the 1950’s, zombies, ghosts, villains and the thought of “what if” this really happened. Let you imagination go and write a story about that.
Something else to try would be focusing on some personal issues that nag at you from time to time. This can be anything from a bad event in childhood, to the hatred you have for bugs. Perhaps your parents got divorced and sent you to live with a relative, your father was a drunk and your sister smoked pot, and once you arrived to live with the relative, you were the subject of abuse. Maybe you always wanted to be rich and wondered what it would be like to live in a mansion with servants. The list could be endless. Take any of these situations and carve up a story.
You can do other things too. Dig up a story about an event you witnessed and write about that. This event could be from your childhood, or something that happened later in life.
Sometimes stepping out of your usual genre can generate many ideas to play around with as well. Maybe you write mysteries and you always wanted to write a horror story, or a western. Try it. If nothing else, it’s a good exercise.
If all else fails, use your dreams, literally. I play around a lot with this one. In fact, a couple of my novels started out as actual dreams that I expanded on. I typically have some real colorful and crazy ones, but I usually write in the fantasy genre, so this works well for me.
It is useful to keep a notepad handy because you never know when random thoughts will enter your head. You could be doing other things and not even thinking about a story you’re working on when all of sudden a brilliant idea for a character, a scene, or a book title will flash through your mind. You want to be able to write it down before you forget it. This may sound silly, but this happens to me a lot. Sometimes I can be cooking dinner, or outside and a great idea will suddenly come to me.
Sometimes inspiration strikes by watching a movie, TV show, or listening to music. Lately, I’ve been trying to organize the 27,000 pictures I have on my computer and looking at those can inspire me as well. Remain open and tap into these things when they happen. Also, be open to using Google to type in things that interest you or perhaps pertain to the current story you’re working on. You can get any number of ideas from those searches sometimes.
Good luck everybody and happy writing!