In August of 2009, my old campaign did this thing called dying - mostly because my son was busy trying to be born. The game was your usual "run some adventures and learn how to DM 4E" sort of affair anywho, so I didn't really mourn its' passing overmuch. The fact that I was busy not sleeping and trying to keep my work clothes from getting covered in yark (that's Harris-household for anything that comes out of a child's mouth) didn't make the loss any harder to take.
Fast-forward a year. I've got this jones in my bones to tell a story. I really don't care what kind of story, but I've got to do something. Unbounded and unfocused creativity is my bane. My muse won't stop meowing until I feed her. I started thinking about settings and stories, just knowing that my brain would latch onto one and I'd be golden.
My brain latched on to FIVE. Usually, when the brain gets to storming I can force it down a path. This time, it wasn't having any of my pesky focusing. Five ideas that wouldn't be denied swelled in the old brain. I had to pick one to sell to some players so I could get my fix, but narrowing the field proved impossible for me alone. I spent precious minutes trying to figure out a way to pare the list down at least a bit. Mash them together? No, too diverse. Run one per tier? Good, but they're still too diverse for that to be cohesive. Player-driven, interest-based steel cage match? Damn, that's a good idea.
So I sold my players with "I'm running D&D. Want to play?" and it worked. We dusted off the old Facebook group, added the new blood, and used the discussion board function to toss out ideas. I threw mine out there for the world to see and invited the players to do the same. Then we voted. It was one part virtual pitch meeting, one part brainstorming session, and many parts fun. As a DM, it also gave me a lot of insight into what my players want from a game. If you've ever got too many (or absolutely no) ideas floating around, give it a whirl.
How do you figure out what story you're going to tell?
P.S. If there's any interest at all, I'll post the ideas.