Writer’s Craft #31 – I See Story Ideas
This week’s guest is Jennifer Brozek, who sees stories everywhere. (Lynda)
This is my sigfile: “I see story ideas. All the time. They’re everywhere. Just walking around like normal ideas. They don’t know they’re stories.”
It’s a riff off of a well-known quote from the movie Sixth Sense and it intrigues a lot of people. When Lynda asked me to write about it, I was delighted. To me, it’s kind of how I’m hardwired. I can take any situation—and I mean any—and turn it into the set up for a horror or apocalyptic story. I can be a lot of fun in hospitals, on broken down BART trains/buses, or livening up boring parties.
What I do out of habit is nothing more than taking an observation or two and playing the “what if” game. Sometimes the stories are awesome. Sometimes not so much.
We have all had strange things happen to us. An example: A friend of mine was waiting for the elevator. When it opened, there were five people inside. The old man in the middle looked at my friend and said, “By tomorrow, we will all be dead.” If that isn’t the beginning of a supernatural story, I don’t know what is.
What I do is look at the mundane and do the same thing. Both me and my best friend were wearing carnelian rings one day, so I thought: What if there was a creature about that could only be seen by those wearing carnelian rings?
Everything around you has the potential for story fodder, from the pencil you just bought to the mailman who waves at you as you drive by. For examples, I invite you to read my horror collection In a Gilded Light. At the end of each of these 105 flash fiction pieces, I tell the reader what real world thing inspired the story.
Please share your own examples of stories that sprang from real life observations or ideas, including links to illustrations, like mine, if available. Or tell us your approach to generating stories from life experience.