Looking at myths and fairy tales is also a good place to find inspiration. There’s a reason we love certain stories. It’s because we find them pleasing in some way. Taking a classic old myth or fairytale and re-imagining it is another way to be original.
For example, in The Wizard of Oz, Miss Gulch takes Toto to be killed. But what if we set the story in a contemporary city, and Miss Gulch insists that Toto go to a dog psychologist? Suddenly, we have a funny idea for a comedy – Toto on the couch.
A bestselling novel re-imagined the story from the Wicked Witch of the West’s perspective. It eventually went on to become a very, very successful Broadway show. Why not use the Wicked template when plotting out our screenplays too?
The technique is to take a story that you love and change the main character, or change the genre, or change where the story is set. Or change all three. Just make sure your new version retains the original conflicts.