Last Updated on by Michael Brockbank
A lot of people will face writer’s block on a regular basis. Can plot generators help you break out of that funk? In many ways, yes. Especially for those who have trouble thinking about what to write next. Which one should you choose for your next story?
Since most generators I’ve come across are free, I suggest trying them all. You don’t really lose anything but a few seconds of your time to see if the tool is right for you.
In fact, you don’t need to sign up for anything or register your email. Simply go to the website and start getting some ideas.
Plot Generators to Try Out for Free
While some often confuse plot generators with writing prompts, they are somewhat similar. The primary difference is that plot generators tend to go a great deal further into details.
Both of these can be quite helpful when trying to come up with an idea while writing, though. It just depends on how much detail you want before writing.
Let’s take a look at some of my favorite plot generators and how they work.
Reedsy has a lot of great tools for writers of all kinds. In fact, I’m currently using the book editing app to publish my next novel. In this instance, we’re looking at the random plot generator.
Reedsy boasts of being able to provide a million different combinations, and I have yet to see two that were even remotely similar. The tool lets you select from several genres or use one completely at random.
Perhaps the best thing about the Reedsy plot generator is how deep it goes into detail. You get ideas for a protagonist, secondary character, plot, and even a twist idea.
To save your ideas, though, you’ll have to register with Reedsy for free. Or, you can simply copy and paste the information directly into something like Notepad.
Masterpiece Generator has a long list of tools for a variety of purposes. You can get ideas for short stories, movie scripts, picture books, twits, memes, and a whole lot more.
In fact, Masterpiece Generator can also help you come up with names, characters, dating profiles, and other oddities.
What sets this tool aside from the others is how much control you have, overall. You can add up to 13 adjectives, add your character names, creatures, skills, and more.
The downside to using the app is that you must fill out the form before proceeding. Though, it’s simple enough to click “Suggest” on the elements you are unsure about or simply click “Fill entire form with random ideas.”
It reminds me more of the Mad Libs we would do in school. Some things make sense while others feel a bit too randomized to be part of a plot. Overall, though, it is kind of a fun tool for a few story ideas.
I’m not sure what to think about the RanGen plot generator, to be honest. It has potential but hasn’t been updated in over three years. Still, it’s an easy-enough random story generator.
It’s quite basic, with only two adjustable elements: Genre and Detail Level.
The genres available are action, fantasy, and romance. But what really sets this generator apart is the detail level. You can choose Premise, Detailed, or Complete, and the amount of text you’ll receive depends on this level.
Unfortunately, RanGen doesn’t seem to have the extensive library for randomizing like some of the others on this list. I’ve seen the ending come up three times after generating roughly 12 different plots.
Although RanGen isn’t as robust as the others, it’s still a quick and easy platform to use if you just want a few fast random ideas for short stories.
Seventh Sanctum is another platform with a quick and easy basic short story ideas generator. Although it doesn’t go into some of the detail as the other plot generators on this list, it does a decent job of putting together a few ideas.
While some of the ideas generated by Seventh Sanctum have a bit of merit, there are plenty that leaves you scratching your head. However, you can still make any of these into a decent story if you have a great deal of imagination.
All in all, the generator is free and tosses ideas as soon as you open the website. You have control to change the Category (genre) and how many ideas are shown (up to 10).
One of the positives about Seventh Sanctum, though, is that it has a list of other generators to try. One of which is the “What-if-inator.” This is a generator that sets up ideas for what-if tales, such as “What if the fall of Rome involved artificial life?“
I almost want to write that story, now.
If you’re looking for more than just a plot generator, The Story Shack has a few other tools available. This includes things like names and places generators for a variety of purposes.
One of the neatest features of The Story Shack is the Writing Exercise page. This launches “Taleforge,” in which you review the challenges on the right to begin creating a short story within an allotted timeframe.
The biggest downside to The Story Shack, though, is the overuse of ads. After just one idea generated, I’m looking at 5 advertisements, and I haven’t even scrolled down the site yet.
I understand that ads can help generate a bit of income. But five above the fold? That’s a bit much.
In any case, The Story Shack does have a few nice features if you’re looking for a few ideas. You can save ideas as you generate them, copy the idea to your computer’s clipboard, and see a list of everything you’ve created since opening the specific generator.
The random plot generator of WritingExercises is a bit different than the others. You have several options to build an idea, but then you can click a single aspect and have that changed.
For example, WritingExercises gives you: Main character, Character 2, Setting, Situation, Theme, and Character action. After clicking each one, the idea is created, which you can then copy to your clipboard at any time.
What if I wanted to keep everything else but wanted a different setting? All I would need to do is click “Setting” again. The rest of the idea remains while only the setting is changed.
You’ll notice that there are quite a few options for other tools on the website. You can generate lines of dialogue, generate characters, create a setting, and much more.
A lot of the tools available can also help you fine-tune your writing. This includes explaining a good plot structure or even training to become better at Scrabble.
ServiceScape isn’t a randomized generator like the others on this list. It simply provides writing prompt ideas based on a preferred genre. In fact, they are nearly entire stories themselves.
While it’s still possible to get a few ideas from the writing prompts, the lack of random elements means you’re more likely to write something quite similar to someone else.
Still, sometimes hashing out a quick short story based on what’s already available can help get past writer’s block. Not to mention how that’s pretty much the basis of fan fiction.
I doubt I would use ServiceScape often simply because I prefer the challenge of randomized events from most of the tools above.
Big Huge Thesaurus prides itself on delivering more than 5.4 million possible story plots. And although I have yet to come across the same one twice, they are a bit lacking in detail.
Then again, sometimes a good story just needs a quick thought.
You’re provided with six ideas at a time and can retrieve more just by clicking the “Show more” button. There’s really not much more to this generator, but it may be helpful for some book ideas.
One of the additions to Big Huge Thesaurus is the thesaurus itself. You can look up various words and the site will provide synonyms and more. It’s not too bad of a writing tool when you’re trying to expand a bit of your vocabulary to provide descriptions in your book.
How to Practice Writing with Plot Generators
The purpose of writing prompts or plot generators is to help you get “in the mood” to write. You don’t necessarily have to use them to craft an entire, 90,000-word novel.
Think of planning a romantic dinner. What would set you in the mood for romance more, sharing a meal deal at Taco Bell, or putting out a nice, homemade, candle-lit dinner for two?
I guess that really depends on who you are. But many would probably side with the candle-lit dinner.
My point is that writing prompts and plot generators can help you get in the mood by getting the creative juices flowing. In fact, a lot of writers will use quick prompts to kick-start their own creative process to work on their novels.
You don’t necessarily have to publish any of these stories. In reality, you don’t even have to save them to benefit from the bump in creative energy.
Create an Anthology on Writing Platforms
If you want to practice writing or feel weird about deleting any of your creative work, you can always create anthologies for Wattpad, Inkitt, or any other writing platform. Not only does this let you save the work, but it can help establish yourself as an author.
Then, you could always come back to them and expand on the tale if you choose. Well, if you create an anthology of stories, it’s already going to grow to the size of a book. Still, it’s an idea to help you practice while getting in the mood to create.
One of the things I have planned is to go back over the short stories on Wattpad and expand them into novels.
Social Media Flash Fiction
I know a lot of authors who use social media to post micro and flash fiction. These are usually super-quick tales that fit within the confines of social media posts.
For example, I follow a couple of authors who often share poetry and short tales on Twitter. It’s amazing what you can fit within 280 characters.
The bottom line is that plot generators and writing prompts don’t have to result in something massive to be influential. Sometimes, all you’ll need is a quick bit of creativity to spark something for your major projects.
Save to Desktop
A lot of authors will have folders on their computer systems full of writing ideas. If you come across something you really like while using a plot generator, you can always save it for later.
Or, you can just write some short stories for yourself for the sheer fun of doing so. Not everything you write has to be published.
The idea is to get over writer’s block and motivate yourself to work on bigger projects. It’s not like any of the generators above are going to help you whip out a New York Times bestseller.
Wouldn’t that be awesome, though?
Using Generators to Inspire Your Own Plots
Another thing to keep in mind when using a story idea generator and prompts is that you don’t have to strictly follow the concepts they deliver. For the most part, they’re primarily showing suggestions to help you create your own plots and whatnot.
There’s nothing wrong with taking an idea from a short story ideas generator literally. But there’s nothing stopping you from going beyond what the tool suggests, either.
You could go so far as to combine more than one result to create something absolutely different and unique.
At the end of the day, there really is no right or wrong way to use writing prompts or plot generators. Well, unless you’re in a contest and have to follow the guidelines of the prompt itself.
Other than that, though, you can use these kinds of platforms to inspire you in any way you see fit.
Personally, I’m debating on creating an anthology on Wattpad using all of the tools above just for fun. Maybe I’ll write one book per generator, each with about 10 stories or so.
Do You Use Plot Generators to Inspire Your Writing?
Every author has a favorite method for getting inspiration or fighting writer’s block. And plot generators can do wonders for anyone who is stuck.
The best part is that all of the sites above are free to use and require very little to get started.
What helps you get ideas for your stories?
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