Sunday, November 20, 2011

Finding Ideas in the Everyday

I read a lot. Books, magazines, product descriptions - since I'm also an editor, I can't seem to NOT read. But filling your brain with news and information gives you lots of stuff from which to build a story idea.

For example, I recently read about how lakes in Texas have been shrinking because of the drought conditions they've had. But the interesting part was what could be found UNDER some of the lakes. In one case, Lake Buchanan covered a graveyard connected to a small town, when it was filled in the 1930s. Here's a link to the article, which shows the gravestone of a young boy who died before he turned a year old:

The drought is a pretty ordinary story, but the minute those stones showed up, my mind started plotting up all kinds of ideas. What if the town was slated for flooding because the boy was murdered and the killer wanted to make sure his bones would never see the light of day again? What if his ghost haunted the shoreline near the lake's edge? What if the child died as a result of plans to make the town disappear under the lake, if his parents protested against losing their town and cemetery, if ... I could go on and on.

There are stories every day about mundane things that suddenly take a turn for the weird - or paranormal, as we like to call it. You can find many ideas in just reading a newspaper or taking a tour of the internet to see what's been happening around the country or around the world. It all depends on how you look at things and, as a writer, you should have a unique perspective on all things strange and unusual to be found underneath the simple stories we hear or see every day.

What is it that makes you think 'STORY'? Did the recent re-opening of the investigation into the death of Natalie Wood give you any ideas? Would it help to know she was filming a 'scary' movie with Christopher Walken when she died? Do you know what the movie was about?

Anything that makes you ask questions is good. If you can make your reader ask questions, GREAT! That's where you find your story - something you find interesting and then expand into something even MORE interesting - something that will grab your readers and not let them go until they've finished your story. That's what all writers hope for.

So you know there are millions of ideas out there - go find them and get writing!