It's on a website called "writer UNboxed," (love the contrarian element of that) and Donald's piece, The Reason to Build a Box, suggests the best way to deal with the paralyzing universe of story options is to narrow it down, and build a box within which to craft your story.
"Narrow down the story parameters. Simplify. Set a story framework. Let a small snapshot imply a vast landscape. Fire a bullet instead of building a bomb. The Great American Novel cannot possibly be about everyone and everything. It can only be a slice of the whole cake. (And, really, who needs to eat a whole cake? Ingest one slice and you’ve got the idea.)"
It's a great piece, and includes a list of 21 prompts that can help you build that box for your story. A few gems:
What genre rule must you absolutely obey? What genre trope will you reverse?and
What’s this story world’s most glaring irony? How is your protagonist thrust in the middle of that?It's well worth reading, and trying out.
Thanks to Cynthia Leitich Smith who mentioned it on her amazing blog here.
Illustrate and Write On,