Friday, May 2, 2008

Reading, Writing and the Ridiculous

I'm amazed by people who have trouble coming up with ideas. I'm not one of them. My mind goes overtime so sometimes I wish I could be one of those whose mind keeps quiet for what must be blissful stretches. But me? A quiet mind? In my dreams, only.

But back to the topic of coming up with ideas for writing. Even if there are no whispers from the muse there are lots of places to find inspiration. Take the news headlines, for instance. There are enough wisps of ideas in the daily stories to furnish a boatload of plotlines.

Although the titillating stories are usually the ones that get the most attention I'm a sucker for the less flamboyant ones. They intrigue me, the tucked-away side stories that seem more ridiculous than most. Or the ones that highlight the spectacular--they get me every time.

This morning there are a few that call me. I can just see a story whose hero makes a discovery--like this. Can you imagine the thrill of discovering a 500-year-old wreck? I see a mystery involving an old, creaky wooden ship, laden with all kinds of booty. A storm. The creak of splitting timbers, a flood of water and the sinking...told from a survivor's viewpoint. Sure, in my mind there's a survivor. Sharks in the water? Hmm...makes it all the more interesting, doesn't it?

Some stories in today's news are just dying to be pulled into a plotline. Now I'm not saying I've got any intention to use this one but wouldn't it be, well, funny to have a criminal as inept as this one? I mean, a check that size? It sounds like something from a romantic comedy, doesn't it? And I picture Steve Martin, or maybe Martin Lawrence, playing the bank robber. Of course he'd want the 360 billion dollars for, I don't know, a big engagement ring? Or to take his intended on the trip of a lifetime, the one she's always dreamed of? Or maybe he'd just want to start his own company. Sometimes real life is stranger than fiction.

But the point is, stories and inspiration are all around us. Of course we can't use the actual headlines bit by bit, but as a jumping off point? Why not? I'm sure lots of people do and I'll bet putting a personal touch and a few twists and turns could turn almost any headline into an offbeat, murderous, adventurous or funny plot.

But pulling writing from reading headlines? Sometimes the outcome can only be ridiculous. Like this Friday morning post!

Have a great weekend! :)


Susan said...

You're so right about this one! There are so many weird headlines it is practically impossible not to think something after reading them. The bank robber made me laugh. Now that you mention it I can see someone funny playing him in a movie. But first the script needs to be written!

Thx for making me laugh!

margaret blake said...

What a splendid idea, Sarita. Must try it.

Margaret Blake.

Kathleen said...

Wouldn't the check guy make for an interesting character -- dumb but interesting. Great post, Sarita.

Debbie Wallace said...

LOL, my muse whispered to me as I was taking Gin Gin to the vet this morning! I have a great new idea for the start of a new story now:)