Science fiction writers know that at the root of every story are two little words: “What if?” “What if we could travel into the future?” “What if robots took over the world?” “What if robots from the future could travel to our time?” “What if?”
But you don’t have to write science fiction to take advantage of the power of these two little words. In fact, you can use “What if?” to create stories in any genre or for any age group: from humorous fiction to thrillers and from picture books to romance novels. The only difference is that--if you aren’t writing science fiction--your “What ifs” probably won’t involve time travel or robots.
“What if?” is really just what I call “. It’s all about taking something and looking at it in a new, unexpected way, a way that asks, “What if?”
There’s an infinite number of things you can ask “What if” about. Here is a list of 12 to get you started:
5. Dreams—These could be actual dreams, but they could also be aspirations. Supposedly, the story of Frankenstein came from an actual dream. But if there’s something you want to do but haven’t or can’t, writing might be a good way to experience it through your characters. They could be famous, read minds, predict the future, or fly for you. So ask yourself, “What if?”
Oh, dear. I forgot one, and it's a biggie:
13. Word play--
I often come up with great story ideas just by playing with words. I have an idea for a middle-grade science-fiction series that came from the expression "a stitch in time." Can't believe I left that out. Are there any others I'm missing?