How to get ideas for a story from listening to music

We have already looked at how to get story ideas from pictures, and we added those ideas to our Story Treasure Chest.

Today we are going to have a go at getting story ideas from listening to a piece of music.

You will listen to a piece of music three times.

The first time you will just simply listen and respond to the music, then we will talk briefly about the music and what you saw in your head as you listened to it.

The second time, you will listen and think of words that the music makes you think of

The third time, you will have a 4-box planning sheet in front of you as you listen, and will very quickly plan a story. Some of you might need more than four boxes! You will need to get another piece of paper if you need more than four boxes.

The music starts very low and slow, and gets very loud and fast as the music goes on. It’s even a little scary! ūüėČ Let’s close the blinds to get some atmosphere going!


Click here for the music (4:48)

‘The Heat’ –¬† by Peter Gabriel (from the album “Birdy” – March 18, 1985, Charisma Records)


How to get ideas for writing using a picture to start with

Who finds it difficult to get ideas to write a story sometimes? I know I do!

But I have found some ways to help me when I’m stuck. Here is one way.

It sometimes helps to have a picture to get my brain going in a creative way. Now what on earth do I mean by THAT?!


Well let’s see..

If I was to use this picture… How would I go about writing a story using this picture to get an idea?

Looking into a hole

I would begin by asking some open-ended questions to myself while looking at the picture, like: –

  • What’s going on in the picture?
  • Who is in the picture? Who could they be? Are they friends? Are they enemies that have been brought together to solve a mystery?
  • What do you think they are they doing? (It doesn’t have to be ‘real’ – you can make it up)
  • Where do you think this is it happening?
  • ‘When’ do you think this is happening?
  • What could these children be looking at?
  • Does it remind you of anything that has happened to you or someone you know? Make connections.
  • If this was you and your friends… what do you think you would be doing?

Is an idea beginning to grow in your head? Yes? GREAT!!!

Not yet? Try this….

Next, I would think of some really good words to help me plan my story. I would think of words that helped me use some – if not all – of my 5 SENSES. I would try and think of words that DESCRIBE what’s going on in the photo.

These are some words that I might think of. Can you think of more?

It looked: ¬† –¬†¬†¬† mysterious ¬† ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† scary¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†

It felt: –¬†¬† ¬† ¬† stuffy¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† hot¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† cold

It smelled:¬† –¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† moldy ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† smelly¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† dusty¬†

We could hear: –¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† barking¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† miaowing¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† growling ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬† scratching


It tasted: – ?

Let’s check….. is there the beginning of a story beginning in your head now?

In your writing journal, put the title IDEAS TREASURE CHEST. Then, quickly write down your idea before you forget it!

very bright

Now we get to practice this skill again.

Look at this picture and try to get an idea for a story, by doing all the things we just did.

Afghan girl - Nat Geo

What could this girl be thinking about?

Look at her clothes. Look at her skin. What do they tell you about her?

very bright

Now look at this picture – can you get a story idea from this picture?


very bright

To finish up, here is a summary of what might help get an idea for a story from a picture.

  1. Take a really good look at the picture
  2. Ask some good, open-ended questions
  3. Think of some good words to start you off – remember to think of words that have to do with your 5 Senses.
  4. Write your idea down in your IDEAS TREASURE CHEST, so you can use them at a later time.



  • Did this help you?
  • If you are a Visual learner, then this might help you. If you are another type of learner (like an Auditory learner, a Reading/words learner, or a Kinetic learner) there are other ways to get ideas. Go HERE to get back to the beginning and explore your learning style.
  • The next step is to use your ideas to actually write a story using one of your ideas, by following the Writing Process (planning, drafting, conferencing, editing, publishing)