A question I often hear as a writer is “Where do you get your ideas?” or its frequent companion, “Aren’t you afraid you’ll run out of ideas?” The short answer to that is “No!” Writers rarely run out of story ideas because we are always working. Even when we are relaxing with family or friends, shopping, exercising, or actually working, part of our brain is always attuned to the possibility of a future story. Others may joke about how we’re always jotting down indecipherable notes on napkins, old receipts or, if you’re one of those organized writers, in your handy Moleskin notebook. Regardless, it’s wired into us. We literally can’t help ourselves.
Here are a few notes I recently rediscovered
- The humongous fungus (37 acres at last count) in Crystal Falls, Michigan. This fungal colony grows primarily underground and gives me the creeps just describing it! Think of all the thrilling ways you could use it in a short story or a science fiction novel. This gem was spotted on a Budget U-Haul truck.
- A note from a talk I attended by Stephen Jenkinson (Die Wise: A Manifesto for Sanity and Soul) at a local bookstore. He said, “Everyone asks me, ‘Can you describe a good death? No one ever asks me to describe a bad death. Not ever!” To me, that quote would be an amazing basis for an article. Every one of us will have to deal with death at some point in our lives. Wouldn’t it be fascinating to explore what a good or bad death experience would consist of and what role we could play in that?
- “The last sentence, the last impression, will be the thing people will remember about your story” (from a workshop at Ithaca College). Good to know.
- And finally “A Year of Treacherous Travel” (scribbled on the back of one of my endless notebooks). I have no idea where this came from or when I wrote it but it opens the door to all sorts of possibilities, doesn’t it?
This is just a tiny sampling of the story ideas I come across every single day. Try finding a few yourself this weekend. It’s fun and addictive!