Monday, February 10, 2014

Looking for Story Ideas in the Strangest Places

Where do you find your story ideas? Do you listen to other people's conversations? Do you take a walk in the park and get the spark of an idea from the wind in the trees, the waves of flowers as the wind rustles through?

Maybe you see a child playing on the swings and it reminds you of a long lost childhood.

Here's an exercise for you to get more story ideas from strange places.

Do you remember the five and ten store from your youth? Ours was a Ben Franklin store. I loved getting a chance to wander the many aisles and see all the items for sale. Ben Franklin had everything from bolts of fabrics to nuts and bolts of every size.

What we have now in our lives are Dollar Stores. Or Family Dollar Stores. Or Deals. Or Dollar Tree. Or whatever they are calling it in your area. It's a dollar store. Where everything is not a dollar. It's basically a place to sell overstocked items at a lower price.

If you strolled through one you, first you'll find items you never thought you needed, but you are sure you can find a use for, and second, you'll find a plethora of story writing ideas.

Here's a recent visit to a dollar store that had a refrigerated and frozen food section. I'll list some of the story ideas and you choose one to write:

1. Write the story of a nun buying twelve cans of Silly String and a pair of ear buds.

2. Play out the life story of a little boy crying at the top of his lungs because his mother won't buy him a plastic fireman's hat.

3. Write the rest of the dialogue that begins with an elderly woman yelling to her husband, "George, you gotta start eatin' better, like the doctor said. Do you wanna get these frozen fish sticks?"

Wait for a moment.

If you go to your local dollar store, stand still and listen. You'll find story ideas galore.

What was the strangest place you ever found a story idea?