Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Ideas are everywhere

It's been said many times before: "Stories are everywhere." There are little things that will grab the writer -- a newspaper article, something somebody said or even the way a person reacts to an event -- that can grab them and say "write me!" Truman Capote is an example, or so I believe from what I read in the book and saw in the movies. He read the article about the family that was murdered by two men, called his publisher and said, "I want to write a book about this."

Or...it can be something which will cause the writer to create a short story, essay, article or poem. The bottom line is that stories really ARE everywhere. The writer just needs to keep their finger on that pulse to look out for those stories.

Today, I had the pleasure of receiving "story starters" from various things I saw and thought about.

For example, the number "13" factors in quite a lot with my new address and new things going on for us. How would that affect someone who is phobic of the number 13? Or what if it was another number? Or a number with unknown mystical qualities? Or a connection to a character?

When I took my daughter to her bus stop this morning, I saw a girl lying face-down at that bus stop. My heart froze. Had there been an accident? Had something happened? There were three other girls standing around her. Being deaf, I had no idea what they were saying. So my imagination started to play around with it. Turned out the girl was fine, she was just very sleepy, but as a writer, I had to ask...what if?

I was outside in the backyard playing with my toddler son today. I noticed things that had me getting story ideas and character ideas:

*An "F" marked on the interior wall of our shed. The product of a disgruntled teacher? Or someone who thought the shed was poorly constructed?

*A pretty rock left by one of the posts on the patio. Left behind by....a child with a fond memory of the place? A person leaving it behind in memory of someone who lived there? A "gift" to the house?

*A strange white "thing" sticking out of the ground that looked like a skeleton's finger. A body buried there without the previous resident's knowledge? A previous resident with something to hide? (Fortunately, after showing the picture to someone, she pointed out it could not be a skeleton finger because there were no visible joints. Still, the idea can really get a writer's muse going!)

*My son walking through a field of dandelions and picking the flowers. A touching moment that could inspire a scene in a story.

There are so many things that we can see, hear, learn about and read about that can inspire ideas for stories or just something to write about. I have had this happen at different times. How wonderful to have experienced a day in which so many story ideas, and even scene ideas, are there for the taking.



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