- Take your local phone book and find five random listings for couples and write down their first names, then select five surnames at random from different pages and assign them to your couples.
- Pick five major (as in life-changing) events that routinely happen to couples, and assign one to each of your couples (you can do this at random or by what feels right for each couple).
- Choose a primary conflict for each of your couples (this can be about the major event, the couple, or totally unrelated) and add that to your description.
- Now, add another complication, but this time choose one that ties the couple’s major event to their primary conflict.
- Using the major event, primary conflict and complication, decide on a resolution for each couple’s story.
You can use this as the basis for a short story (a particular scene from the couple’s lives) or for a novel. Even as a subplot in an existing novel. You can twist the scenarios toward a particular genre or to include specific themes as suits your fancy.
However you choose to do it, building up your inventory of stories and novels gives you more pieces to keep in play with editors and agents along with a sense of accomplishment with each piece you finish.
This quote from Isaac Asimov is good advice:
You must keep sending work out; you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer. You send that work out again and again, while you’re working on another one. If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success – but only if you persist.
Good luck with building your inventory!