Ideas can come from anywhere…like the piece of family history that my grandmother rode bucking stock in rodeos. Or a newspaper story, like the one my author friend Maryann Miller found: when a woman died and authorities went into her home, they found skeletons of babies in boxes in her attic. This resulted in her novel Boxes for Beds.
But when you are truly “stuck,” here are some websites I’ve read about that might help.
The Story Starter http://www.thestorystarter.com/ This is as simple as it gets. Click a button, and you can get a first sentence for your story.
Random Story Generator http://www.school-for-champions.com/fiction/random_story.htm This site shows you a simple plot, and illustrates it with the help of a random story.
Serendipity http://nine.frenchboys.net/ Generators for names, stories, places, and characters. The generated content isn’t too long, just a couple sentences to get your brain kicking.
Seventh Sanctum http://www.seventhsanctum.com/ Tons of story generators. They have the usual name, character, and story generators, but they also have generators for things like equipment (magic items, weapons and so on), powers (super powers, special abilities and so forth), and even a technology generator for the gadget lovers.
How about you? Where do your ideas come from? Have you found story prompts and generators helpful?