According to Aristotle in Poetics,
the characters in a story should be lifelike and should do things, not ponder things. “All human happiness or misery takes the form of action,” Aristotle writes. “Character gives us qualities, but it is in our actions, in what we do, that we are happy or the reverse.” Characters need things to do, a sequence of necessary or probable events that will bring about a change in their situation or character.
If you need an idea for characters and plot, here are a few:
• This is a story in which advanced social media algorithms allow ranking of character – helpful, trollish, petty, intelligent, etc. – and the story tells about a day in the life of an ambitious man who is consumed with achieving the highest positive character ranking possible.
• This is a heart-wrench drama about a woman who sees her afterlife in a near-death out-of-body experience, but in this case she sees Hell rather than Heaven, and although no one believes her or thinks she should change, she knows she must.
• This is a romance – or perhaps an anti-romance – about a pair of actors hired to pretend to fall in love during a deep-space pleasure cruise to entertain the other passengers.
— Sue Burke