Friday, August 9, 2013

Spontaneous Combustion and the Joys of Blogging

Despite being an introvert, I’m a talker. Get me with familiar people and a subject I like or find interesting, and I can talk more than most people probably prefer. It’s odd, then, that the hardest part of blogging - for me, at least - is coming up with something to say. Earlier this week, a friend and I spent our entire lunch break engaged in an in-depth discussion of the darker thematic elements beneath the beautiful surface of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Two nights ago, my husband and I discussed accidental adult themes in children’s books after he snickered through our son’s bedtime story. But when I think about writing a blog post? Brick wall. I feel like I have absolutely nothing of interest to talk about.

So, I tried to make a list of things I find interesting for possible blog topics.

The blank page, she haunts me 

Yeah…even I thought it was boring.

I gave up. In a fit comprised of 2 parts self-loathing and 1 part indignation, I decided to check my email as a procrastination method (like you do). A long time ago, I subscribed to an RSS feed of MSNBC’s “Weird News” stories. I checked that folder for the first time in ages. There was a LOT of junk; crazed beauty queens and goats as landscapers and a dead shark found on the subway. Okay, that last one isn't so bad. 

Possible explanation for HOW the shark wound up in that subway car 

There were also some really interesting and thought provoking stories. Stories about spontaneous combustion, secret Korean unicorn lairs, and new Chupacabras. This, I can work with!

This is, actually, why I subscribed to the RSS feed in the first place. Not for the news stories, but for the tiny ideas that spark to life while reading them. Take spontaneous combustion, for example. I don’t know if spontaneous combustion is actually possible in a real world setting, but think of all the possibilities it presents as a story device. Paranormal and speculative fiction are my genres of choice, so let’s put spontaneous combustion into a fantastic setting. Was it really “spontaneous”, or is that a cover up to mask the more nefarious truth? Was the victim smuggling black market dragons and one escaped? Was the victim really a casualty in the war between the fire elementals and the water elementals? Did the victim steal a cursed ancient talisman that activated suddenly, with horrible consequences? The possibilities are only hemmed in by the limits of the imagination.

 So, perhaps it's time I start thinking of blogging (something I struggle with) the same way I think of brainstorming new story ideas (something I *love*). Maybe the weird scraps of daily life that can be turned slightly and used as the starting point of fiction can also fuel blog discussion.

What do you think? Is blogging something you love, or is it more of a chore? Do you pull your story ideas from the strange and fantastic elements of the world around us? Did you see Sharknado? What do you think is the sinister, magical force behind all these reports of spontaneous combustion?


  1. Blogging is a bit of a chore for me for the same reason you mentioned: what the *^%$ am I supposed to blog about? I mostly use it as a promo tool for books/authors I love with the odd quasi-serious post thrown in from time to time.

    I'm not sure I pulled the idea from this so much as absorbed it through repeated exposure, but my 8 year old has seen 'Barbie and the Mermaid Tale 2' about 500 times. Is it any wonder I'm working on a mermaid series?

    I'm ashamed to admit it, but I kind of want to watch 'Sharknado' after all of the hype - but only in the context of MST3K and/or a drinking game.

    Spontaneous combustion as a plot device would rock! If you write it, I will read :)

  2. Blogging got to be a chore; hence I quit.

    Don't think I could sit through Sharknado. It would probably kill the few brain cells I have left.

    Yes, I believe in spontaneous combustion - the body as a wick surrounded by fat. Oh wait...ick.

  3. Some evidence supports spontaneous human combustion as the result of a rare genetic disorder that affects only vampires. Hypothesis is that some vampire bodies, suffering severe vitamin D deficiencies, will attempt to internally generate their own UV radiation, causing the vampire to spontaneously combust.

  4. Dana, I understand. My personal blog is a mix of "here's a song I like" and "here's some stream of consciousness babbling because I have NOTHING to saaaaaaaaaaaaaaay."

    I'm very interested to read the mermaid series! I grew up on "The Little Mermaid", so it's a long standing obsession :)

    Sharknado was actually pretty good in a "this is awful and I know it's awful but let's laugh and make fun of it as we watch" type way. I recommend it. Though fair warning, that atrocious ending cannot be unseen.

  5. Cheryl, oh, a wick surrounded by fat! I haven't thought of it in those terms before, but that is a scarily accurate description (even if it is a bit icky). Makes the idea plausible.

  6. Hi Anonymous. Not sure if your reply is meant tongue-in-cheek or serious, but either way there is a FASCINATING story to be derived from that. Oh, the possibilities :D

  7. Tongue-in-cheek.

    But the wick effect is real.. and gruesome. :)