Most professional writers have a cutesy answer to the common question “where do you get your ideas?” They’ll say things like “I don’t know,” or “stop asking me that,” or “I make them up, okay? I make them up.” Hilarious! But unhelpful nonsense all the same.

While every writer must groom and harvest his or her own individual muse-lines, it’s important to have the old standards as a fallback. That’s right–every writer in the world started out with the same closely guarded set of idea sources! Story Hacks had to break a solemn Writer’s Oath to bring you these, but here they are:

  • In the future, put the ideas for things you’ve already written into reverse time capsules. Open them now!
  • Eat a bunch of alphabet soup without chewing and throw it up real fast.
  • Call (818) 775-3993 and request extension 1013. When someone answers, say “we know the truth, Jaleel,” and hang up. An envelope will be slipped under your door in three to five business days.
  • Find a police officer, and hit him until he gives you some good ones!
  • Using the ancient art of misanthropomancy, divine your ideas from the entrails of your slaughtered enemies.*

    *Note: if short on enemies, try previous method.

Today’s Hack in a Nutshell: Why think when you can follow instructions!