Capturing Ideas

January 25, 2010

- See all 164 of my articles

Writing is capturing ideas. Your mind can be amazing. As you search for topics to write on, do not reject any ideas. Some ideas may not be appropriate for you chosen style of writing, or for all audiences. Still, jot down everything. You never know what will be an important piece of a future work.

Ideas can come from any direction. Most of us have some story from our past that can at least be a seed for a new effort. Be careful not to put in too much personal detail, we don’t want an aunt writing us out of the will after all. Here is an example; my sister works at IKEA for a second job and recently was given the opportunity to move into loss prevention. This is the group of people who try to limit the shoplifting and other forms of theft that impact the business. In her interview, she asked if she could have a taser. The team leader refused based on his belief that she would use it. The idea of a loss prevention person having and using a taser in a large box store like IKEA could be a great comedy. Who knows, that could be my next effort.

Current events or even seasonal events can be good fodder as well. Politics, natural disasters, crimes and scandals are available everyday. You can start with real life events and insert your characters, or slightly change the event to see where the story leads compared to real life. Just in the last few weeks, we have a world famous athlete caught in multiple extra-marital affairs, an earthquake in a third world country, back room dealings on major legislation, an aggressive nation testing long range rockets and active combat in Afghanistan. Any of these headlines provides fodder for short stories, poems, even novels. Even if these events are not part of your story, they can provide colorful backdrops and depth.

Seasonal events, like Professional and collegiate sports, provide a never ending cycle to grab your creative efforts. Today, Professional football is in the post season, College football is in the post bowl glow, basketball and hockey are in full swing and the winter Olympics are just around the corner. Stories with the point of view of athletes, spectators, officials, or even organizers can be outstanding platforms for your message. I remember reading as a child a story about going to a baseball game. The story was a young boy’s vision of waiting for his father, traveling in the New York Subway, standing in line to get his ticket, even getting to his seat. The story ended just as they stood for the national anthem. It was an incredible expression of personal wonderment focusing on a baseball game that was never described.

As I have written before, almost as a theme for my ramblings, capture all of your ideas. If you do not need it for your current project, it could be useful later or even be a starting point for a new effort.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. kosmo
    Jan 25, 2010 @ 10:02:41

    Since I write a short story every Friday, I’m constantly stumbling for fresh new ideas. I definitely use the news as jumping off points for some of the stories.


  2. Martin Kelly
    Feb 02, 2010 @ 10:31:25

    I have an upcoming column that is current events based. More an opion piece. rather than a literary masterpiece.


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