Saturday, August 30, 2008

Nuggets of Inspiration

A few days ago I read a post by Angie Ledbetter about Snagging the Nuggets. She talked about how she's heard writers say, "I have nothing to write about." And then she pointed out that surely can't be the case; not if one's eyes and mind and imagination are open, because inspiration and ideas are all around us. I wholeheartedly agree.

It could be something as "insignificant" as a penny found upon a sidewalk. How did it get there? Who dropped it? And from there you could create a children's picture book about the journey of Pete the Penny. Or that couple in the corner booth, the one arguing with overt animation? Yes, they could be headed toward a relationship disaster, or they could just be expressing their frustration and despair over their ill child's last hospital stay. And there's your next short story premise.

Ideas come from wherever you're willing to see them. Just this morning I spotted a car parked across the road, out from our driveway. It's a stretch of road with few houses, even fewer places to pull over. As I watched the driver move about in her car, arranging this, checking that, my imagination (or perhaps rampant paranoia) took over. Is there a reason she parked in front of my house? Is she secretly taking notes about our overgrown grass, planning to turn us in to Lawn Enforcement? And wait, is that a passenger I see in the car? Maybe the driver is creating a diversion by spitting out the window, so I won't notice her accomplice is stealing our mailbox.

Okay, so in all actuality, the woman probably spilled her coffee and had to sop it up before her seat turned brown and landed her in a pile of life-long poop jokes. But you see how you could turn the most innocent circumstance into something big? It just takes a little imagination (or perhaps rampant paranoia) to weave a great tale.

Tell me about something seemingly insignificant that led to one of your written pieces.

14 comments:

Angie Ledbetter said...

Don't you just love when these little story starters from real life fall into your lap? May you always have the eyes and ears to catch them. ;)

Kathryn Magendie said...

A-me-un! *smiling*

Turkey Lurkey said...

Glad to know that I am not the only one with a wild imagination. :)

colbymarshall said...

My second novel was actually about six lives connected only by the fact that the people all came into contact with the same coin.

Janna Qualman said...

You said it, Turk. My imagination really gets the best of me sometimes. That and over-analyzation...

That's awesome, Colby! What a neat idea. :)

Joshua said...

the only story i have even taken the time write was based on hte dealings I had with my mind. its getting big, I'll have to let ya read it when its finished.

demichippings said...

My friends and I were joking about how we never see the garbage collectors because they come so early. We came up with the theory of Garbage Gnomes living in bins and sorting out rubbish. I wrote a short story off of that idea but then had to deal with people telling me that garbage men weren't myths...I liked the idea anyway lol.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Hey, thanks for stopping by the Rose & Thorn zine's blog and leaving the link back to your "place." (Your maiden name is the old English version of mine?) Happy Sunday and write on!

dube said...

Great post. I keep a list of all the "nuggets" that bring story ideas to me, since I can't pursue them all at once. Sometimes a story I read on the Internet will spark an idea, and I save all those links in an ideas folder, too.

WendyCinNYC said...

I once was forced to overhear a really repulsive phone conversation between some pervy old guy and his (I assume) buddy on the other end recounting all his conquests. He clearly wanted everyone to hear him, so of course I turned him into a short story.

I wasn't very nice to him, either.

Terri Tiffany said...

I love your imagination!!:)) I recently flew from Seattle to Orlando and sat by a woman with a strange story. Faithwriters happened to be having their week's challange theme as patience--and so a story was born. (I have little patience on a red-eye.)

Melanie Avila said...

My imagination is on overdrive, always. I finally got my husband to play along while we were on vacation - imagining where the people are from, how they're all connected, and why the one girl smells of strong laundry soap. Perhaps that's my next story. ;)

Joanne said...

I find that little nuggets of daily life hold deeper meaning upon reflection. Christmas tree hunting, a wedding gown, a childhood piano, all grew into stories imbued with meaning when I put them into words.

Janna Qualman said...

Thanks for all the great comments, guys. I'm glad to see we're such an imaginative bunch! (It'd be pretty sad if, as writers, we weren't.) :)