The Fastest Way to Get Ideas

4,400 Essential What Ifs for Writers

"Instant inspiration for your
short stories, novels, characters,
plots, settings and more!"

The fastest way to get ideas

What Ifs are one of the easiest ways to come up with great ideas for things to write about, even on days when your brain refuses to work!

With the help of this book you'll easily come up with stories packed with fully rounded, three-dimensional characters, fascinating and memorable plot twists, interesting locations, and all sorts of other ideas that will leave your readers thinking: How on earth did you think of that?

Simply turn to any page, scan your eyes down the list of What Ifs, and within seconds you should feel your brain click into gear as all sorts of story ideas and possibilities begin to emerge. You'll soon be ready to get writing again!

If you have a particular theme or subject in mind, turn to the list of categories at the front of the book, or look at the headings along the top of each page – there are 150 categories listed in alphabetical order.

Once you have an idea that you like, you can use it as a starting point for a short story, novel, screenplay, stage play, poem, joke, article – or just about anything. And once you have your starting point you can use more What Ifs to add extra characters, personality traits, background details, plot points and twists, and all sorts of other things.

Full list of categories included in the book:

Accidents; Actions; Addiction; Age; Ambition; Animals; Appearance; Art; Belief; Birth, babies, pregnancy; Cannibalism; Celebrity and fame; Characters; Children; Communication; Control (lack of); Crime and punishment; Culture; Death; Decisions and choices; Dedication / determination; Desperate measures; Dreams; Drink; Ecology; Education; Email; Embarrassment; Emotions and feelings; Enlightenment; Exhaustion and tiredness; Failure; Family; Fate; Fear; Food; Friends and enemies; Gardens; Geography; Gifts; Government; Health; Help; History; Holidays; Home; Horror; Human biology; Humour; Illegal; Inaction; Judgement; Knowledge and (mis)understanding; Language; Law; Letters/post; Likes/dislikes; Limitations; Literature; Living and lifestyle; Lost and found; Love and romance; Luck; Lying and cheating; Memory; Miscellaneous; Misconceptions; Mistakes; Money; Music; Mysterious; Mystical; Names; Nature; Neighbours; Noises and sounds; Oops!; Optimism/pessimism; Paranormal?; Parents and parenthood; Parties; Partners; People; Personality and behaviour; Pets; Phone calls; Plans gone awry; Police; Politics; Power; Press and Media; Pretence; Problems; Psychology; Reading; Relatives; Religion; Right and wrong; Royalty; Refusal/disobedience; Rules; Rumours; Science, maths, inventions and discoveries; Science fiction; Science fiction – alternative history; Science fiction – animals; Science fiction – geography; Science fiction – science; Science fiction – time; Secrets; Self-control; Self-improvement; Senses; Skills and superpowers; Sleeping; Smell; Sociology; Speech/talking; Sport, exercise and fitness; Strange; Stupidity; Success; Superstition; Surprise!; Technology; Television; Things going badly; Things going well; Time; Travel; Uncertainty; Waking up; Wants/needs; War; Weather; Weddings and marriage; Winning and losing; Work; Work – boss; Work – colleagues; Work – customers; Work – employees; Work – jobs; Work – job applications; Work – not working; Work – pay, money, budget; Work – problems; Work – you’re fired!; Writing; You

Sample category:

(Note: where it says "You" or "Your" in the following list of What Ifs, it doesn't have to mean you personally. It could be someone you know, or it could be one of the characters in your story - the hero, the villain, the victim's secret lover, a messenger, or whatever you like.)


  • What if a lorry crashed through your front wall?

  • What if a man you'd never met before fell through your ceiling?

  • What if a plane crashed through your roof?

  • What if a tree fell on you?

  • What if something fell from your car and caused an accident?

  • What if you accidentally damaged a statue and then realised there was a body inside?

  • What if you accidentally gave it to the wrong person?

  • What if you accidentally spread disease into a country that didn’t have it?

  • What if you accidentally switched something on (or off) without realising?

  • What if you caused an accident?

  • What if you crashed your car into an electricity sub-station and blacked out a whole town?

  • What if you fell down the stairs in a public building and decided to sue them?

  • What if you fell off the roof?

  • What if you fell out of the window?

  • What if you had an accident at work?

  • What if you had an embarrassing accident?

  • What if you killed someone and made it look like an accident?

  • What if you lost one or more limbs in an accident?

  • What if you said it was an accident, but it wasn’t?

  • What if you saw an accident waiting to happen?

  • What if you took a gun off a shelf in a sports shop and fired it, assuming it wasn't loaded – but it was?

  • What if you were browsing in your local library when a bookshelf fell on you?

  • What if you were having so many 'accidents' that it had to be more than just coincidence or bad luck?

  • What if you were in a plane crash?

  • What if your faulty workmanship caused a serious accident?

100% guaranteed100% guaranteedSatisfaction 100% guaranteed

If The Fastest Way to Get Ideas doesn't help you to come up with tons of great new ideas for your short stories or novels, simply return it within 60 days for a full and prompt refund.


About the author

Dave Haslett wrote his first book (a 300-page illustrated guide to tropical fish) at the age of 13, and has since written novels, non-fiction books, screenplays, over 200 articles, short stories, reviews, poetry, and a monthly column. In 2002 he founded ideas4writers, the ideas and inspiration website.

Dave is the author of The Fastest Way to Write Your Book and is currently working on further titles in the Fastest Way series. He is also the co-author of The Date-A-Base Book series which each list hundreds of forthcoming historic anniversaries for you to write about, including notable events, discoveries, inventions, births and deaths. The 2013 and 2014 editions are currently available.

Dave Haslett

Dave Haslett
author and publisher

Cullompton, Devon, UK
27 May 2019

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