Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Inspiration Can Come from Anywhere

It seems like the stories I come up with tend to be on the weird side. This is most likely due to a heavy dose of The Twilight Zone when I was a kid, but it's not the only source. Life experiences, dreams, and real news of the strange can all contribute to an offbeat tale. I'm not exactly sure if other people want to see these yarns, but getting them into a moving picture format is extremely satisfying for me.

Recently, I came across a page on Wikipedia which details a "list of unusual deaths". I can't confirm how many of these are actually true (some are items of recent memory), but it really doesn't matter for narrative purposes. It makes for an interesting (and sometimes disturbing) read, and will definately get those writing juices flowing. Why did that person die in such a manner? You could tell an entire story based around that question (think Sunset Boulevard or DOA).

Here in Salt Lake City, there was a man-made lake that was being drained for some maintenence purpose. At the bottom of the now-empty lake bed was a car with a dead woman inside. She had gone missing and no one knew what became of her. That would make one hell of an opening.

Remember in The Player (1992) when the movie execs sat around the table coming up with movie ideas just from reading that morning's headlines? The same method can work for any story. Ideas are all around us, in written word, the visual image, in people we know and those we don't. Go to a historical part of town and just think what stories those old buildings could tell. Go inside and absorb the atmosphere. Write down how you feel when you're in there.

If you're feeling stuck, do things you don't normally do. Go to parts of the library you seldom frequent. Call distant relatives and have them relate an old war story. Talk to that homeless guy on the street. Dig a hole in your back yard (or your neighbor's yard), and create a story around the first thing you discover.

The possibilities are really endless, but we all need a kick in the creative pants to find that great idea that stirs the passion within. Chances are it its literally right in front of our face.

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