Stories were shared even before the written word was developed. Stories, I believe, come from our awareness of the world around us. As a writer, I am both blessed and cursed. I find stories everywhere. I could be driving down my street on a stormy day and think, "wow, those clouds look like a maelstrom in the sky. What if lightening strikes in front of me and with it an alien appears. What would I do?" I'd probably run it over before even processing what I was seeing. But what would be the last thing anyone would expect I do? And walah, a story is born. Stephen King nailed it when he said he starts his brainstorming session with the "What if..." question. As writers it is our calling to put those ideas on paper and realize them.
*I mentioned it is a curse because sometimes it's hard for me to put those filters on that allow you to turn off that creativity button and just drive.
I recently began coming out of the closet as a writer. And most everyone I tell tells me that they have a great idea for a book. I'm sorry to break the news, but ideas will get you nowhere. You need to write them down, now, before they sift into your short term memory bank with the other million memories, some never to be found. That would be a trajedy.
And so, where do stories come from? You.
A perfect example of a story in the making. This is a quote from Jurrasic Park, (1993). "God made man. Man destroys God. Man makes dinosaurs. Dinosaurs eat man, women inherit the earth."
This is not only an idea, but it has all the elements needed for a great story. It has your characters: man, God and dinosaurs. It has conflict, both internal and external: God vs. man is more of an internal conflict. The movie is not about a god taking a human-like form, but rather the perception of God as creator--nature. The external conflict is obvious: dinosaurs eat man. And then the ending: women inherit the earth (all the dinosaurs were female). And there you have it. Simple, specific and something that can be expanded.