Photo by Karen Roe.
How's NaNoWriMo going? Do you have 20 per cent of a novel on your hard drive yet? If not, maybe you're having trouble thinking of what to write. Fortunately, there's a place on nanowrimo.org that is full of ideas ripe for the stealing.
It's a forum called Adoption Society, so no, it's not actually stealing. People think of plots, and put the ones they can't use (or are willing to share) "up for adoption." Likewise characters, subplots, titles, and more.
You need a free account on the NaNoWriMo website to view the forum, but I recommend it whether you're doing this month's challenge or not. The adoption society is packed with orphan ideas just begging for a home in your next work of fiction.
Here are some of my favourites:
Adopt a Magical Item - Perhaps one of your characters could drink the Mead of Long Life, which keeps you from dying but only if you toast someone else when you drink it. Or perhaps someone can read (or aspire to write) the Total Perspective Book, which describes the vastness of the universe so perfectly that anyone who reads it becomes utterly incapacitated.
Adopt a Ragtag Group of Misfits - Does your novel need a group of couples, all dysfunctional, on an assignment as part of therapy? Or perhaps your office romance occurs in a department of all the people who couldn't be fired, and who are the only ones around when a crisis breaks out.
Adopt a Space Filler/Quick Little Moment - One of your characters gets the munchies and takes the rest of the squad on a detour for food. You can describe the food in as much detail as you like. Or your character stops to pet a stray dog. It follows him everywhere. Name the dog.
And if you're having trouble naming those characters, misfits, items, or even that cute little dog, stop by the Appellation Station forum, where procrastinating writers are stationed 24/7 doling out monikers.