Story Dice – your handy story idea generator
Now the classic story ideas generator is available for free in your browser. In this version there’s over 50 options for each dice – with more options being added as I get around to drawing them.
As well as being a fun diversion for parents and kids, this is also a handy tool for writers looking for inspiration to create their own story ideas. As a creative exercise, it’s a brilliant way of giving your imagination a workout. And because your imagination is where your ideas come from, that’s a great mental muscle to flex. The more practice you put into turning the prompts into stories, the better you will get at storytelling and articulating your own ideas.
The tool below is fully functional but if you want a stand-alone version, just click on the button at the bottom of the page. (It may look a bit crushed on a smartphone screen. If that’s the case, scroll down and click that button when you’re ready.)
Are you sitting comfortably? Let’s begin…
How to use story dice
As you can see above, you get five story dice (or nine dice, if you prefer), each with a random image on it. Your job is quite simply to turn these prompts into a story.
I recommend you try to work with the order they appear on the screen but if you’re finding it tough, you can do some swapsies.
You also don’t need to take the image literally. You can use the dice metaphorically or as representations of other concepts. For example, a slice of pizza could represent food in general, cutting a slice out of something, Italy, gooiness, a chef and a heap of other more obscure things. The job of the dice is not necessarily to provide you with literal objects to work with but concepts to nudge your thinking in fresh directions.
You may just want to dive in as soon as you see them, working from left to right as you try to incorporate each image into your yarn. Or you may want to be more strategic and work out the ending first, using the dice to work out how you’re going to get to your big climax. Try different strategies to see what works best for you.
But let me give you an example. Imagine I was dealt these dice (I don’t need to imagine because I just have been):
I prefer to start at the end and work my way back, so I first think of ways I could use the newspaper. It might be to swat flies or line the bottom of a bird cage or wrap a present or something else. Then I look at the other items to see how my story can get me there. I then come up with something like this:
- This is the story of Clint Wayne and how he became the most famous boy in North Dakota. Clint hadn’t done well enough in his high school exams to get into astronaut training, so he’d taken a job at his local MegaBurger drive-through while he brushed up on his astrophysics.
- His shift ended at 7am which meant he was often the only one in the burger joint at night. That didn’t mean he could slack off. As well as flipping burgers for people with late-night munchies, he also had to wipe down the tables and clean the floors. And that was what changed his fortunes. MegaBurger was run by a skinflint who liked to cut corners. That meant the carpets were threadbare, the brooms only had a few bristles left and the vacuum cleaner was a beaten-up contraption from the 1950s.
- One night, while trying to suck up some fries from underneath a table, the vacuum started to make some strange sounds and spluttered to a halt. Clint was quite handy with a screwdriver, so he decided to try to fix it. He undid half a dozen rusting screws and went to remove the bottom panel. But before he even touched it, it pinged across the room and a ghost came flying out. But not just any ghost. This was the ghost of Albert Einstein. Yes, THE Albert Einstein. “Phew!”, the physicist’s ghost wheezed. “It’s dusty as hell in there. Maybe dustier. But I won’t know for sure until my earthly work is done. And that work is YOU.”
- Clint had to take a seat. He couldn’t believe what was happening. He wasn’t sure if it was real or a fever dream from the out-of-date cheese he’d had on his burger earlier that night. “So, young Clint. I’m here to help you achieve your destiny. You are the visionary who will lead mankind to the stars. You just need a little help with the basics first.” Einstein then went on to demystify astrophysics and explain cosmology. And he did it every night until Clint was ready to embark on the path that would change the destiny of humanity.
- But we won’t go there just yet. Because it’s yet to happen. We’ll stop at the first part of the journey when Clint made the front page of every newspaper as the highest performing NASA recruit in history, getting 100% in his entrance exams. That was just last week. But I look forward to twenty years time when mankind has a base on every one of Jupiter’s moons. And the space-cruiser, HMS Clint travels out of our solar system into the infinite possibilities beyond.
OK. That went on a bit longer than I intended! I kind of got carried away with my own story idea. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not exactly brilliant. I won’t have Hollywood studios bidding for the rights. But it hopefully gives you a bit of an idea of how you could use the tool yourself.
There are lots of other ways you can use these story dice. If you have some other favourite uses for them, please tell me and I can add them to this page.
You may get a better idea by watching me use the story dice to spin a couple of yarns. Here’s a film of me doing just that. I hope you come up with better stories than I did!
When to use this story idea generator
- As a regular creative exercise to develop your storytelling abilities
- As a warm-up creative exercise in a group idea-generation session
- As a game to entertain children and help them develop their imaginations
- As a creative prompt to inspire your writing
- As a tool to build proficiency in a foreign language
- As a drinking game in a caravan by the sea on a wet Sunday evening during a powercut
More help with creative ideas
Check out my book, How To Get To Great Ideas, which has lots more advice, tools and techniques.
You can also find a bunch of other tools I’ve created to help develop your creative abilities and push your thinking in new directions. I keep adding to them whenever I find the time to do a bit of coding, so it’s probably best to keep an eye on my newsletter to see when I release new things.