This is the simplest way to generate a story idea, while it is not in-line with what most writer’s do, there is no simple clear-cut way to do this. It is not a writing rule, so don’t worry if this doesn’t work for you.
All great writing starts with an idea, regardless how small it may seem. There are tons of books on the market that take on this subject, and they are all valid, but some of them are written from a technical point of view.
So, how do you turn that idea into something tangible?
Brainstorming is a great place to start. For this to work the way that you want, it is best to have a new blank, never been used before notebook. Don’t look for inspiration, because often times it doesn’t help. When an idea pops into your head, write it down. It doesn’t matter how big or small the idea, write it down. This helps later on, and (there’ll be another post here on the other steps).
It is important to keep generating ideas, this helps in character development, story development (i.e., plot details, character arches, etc.).
Take that list of ideas, and say each one out loud, if that helps you great. When you say these out loud to yourself, you should be thinking: “Is there a story here?” If nothing jumps out to you, that is okay, not every idea is going to scream “I’m the story,” however, if you narrow down the ones that just aren’t working for you, whether you cross them out or put a little X next to them, and keep generating ideas until something spectacular stands out amongst the rest. That is your story.