Non writing folks constantly ask how I come up with my ideas. They never seem to ‘get’ my explanation that ideas are everywhere: in the newspaper, on television, studying the bat-shit-crazy-eyed man watching you from the bench in front of Starbucks. Or, maybe you stumble across some odd piece of history while on vacation, or even while reading a research book. The point is, ideas surround you. All you have to do is open your eyes and look.
As for me, I gravitate to the odd and bizarre. Things with a twist or unexplained elements.
For example- not too long ago our local radio station, in conjunction with our local police, put out a burglar alert. What was this thief stealing? Why he was stealing condolence meals gifted to grieving families during wakes, or meals following memorial services. He would show up at the funeral and then follow the grieving family to wherever they were holding the wake/memorial meal. He was well dressed in a suit and nice jacket. Always polite, respectful, and sympathetic to the grieving family. But he’d arrive with a backpack and after he’d paid his respects to the family, he’d open this backpack- pull out a dozen Tupperware containers and start loading them up with the food people had brought the grieving family. Last I heard, the local police were staging undercover officers at some upcoming funerals and the memorial meals in the hope of catching this vicious felon.
And if that news report didn’t inspire all sorts of story ideas,.
Or what about this? Suddenly, one night, out of the blue- over 5,000 red-winged blackbirds fall out of the sky. Dead. And nobody knows why. One hundred miles away, a day earlier, over 100,000 Drum fish, suddenly wash up on the shore. Dead. You can read about it here.
Now does this incite the imagination or what?
I can think of all sorts of scenarios for this and SOME of them aren’t even apocalyptic in nature.
What about the rest of you? Any odd/strange/bizarre piece of news that teased your brain into a story?