Use your inbuilt story antenna
“Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the one who see five or six of them. Most people don’t see any.” Orson Scott Card
Where do you get your story ideas from?
Do you have your eyes and ears open ready to receive story ideas, like some invisible antenna ready to receive the incoming messages?
Be on the lookout for story ideas everywhere you go, every person you see or listen to, snatches of conversation in the mall, the train, the television – if fact, wherever you are. Take a notebook with you and jot down those ideas, those words, the images you see. Record the sights, the smells, the sounds all around you and file them away for future use. Some of these jottings will never be used, others will be very useful and still others will be the gems that turn a good story into a great story.
Here are some examples:
- A white lily: I saw a white lily in the garden of a neighbour on my early morning walk. Write about what the memory of white lilies means to you about someone (friend or family) who recently died.
- A raven: A black raven flew over the house at sunset. Write a story about your cold feelings of impending disaster (death?).
- A rusty truck: Write about the joyful times you had on a favourite old truck on your uncle’s farm, and your sadness now that it is on the scrap heap.
- A singing bird: Write about the feelings you have when you hear a beautiful singing bird. What memories does it bring to mind? Who does it make you think of?
- The aroma of freshly baked bread or cake: Write about your favourite food, how it makes you feel and the memories it brings to mind.
Can you see the gem of an idea in any of these suggestions? If you can – start writing.
Make a list of twenty things you see on a walk around the block, or on your drive home from work or from the window of the train. Try to use as many of these things as you can in a story.
Remember: story ideas are all around you.