Blogger: Michelle Ule
Sitting in for Wendy who is visiting the upper Midwest with Lauraine Snelling’s book tour.
Note: I am at Kathi Lipp’s Leverage Speaking Conference with limited ability to comment.
Tell your own stories on this idea in the comments today!
Writers always get asked where a story idea came from.
This is an example of how my brain worked one morning.
- Driving along and letting my brain roam.
- Seeing something odd–in this case a man wearing a long black raincoat walking in the bike lane against traffic.
- Noticing he had walked away from a bicycle–which was parked with its kickstand down.
- Idle thought–when had I last seen a bike parked with a kick stand?
- Second idle thought–wouldn’t that long raincoat get in the way of pedaling the bike?
- Where would he have been going on an overcast Sunday morning at eight o’clock?
- He didn’t look like he cared he wasn’t wearing a helmet.
- One block past, another bike rider–also sans helmet–was riding along, slowly.
- He wasn’t wearing a raincoat.
- Were they together?
- Who first thought of using a wheel to move faster?
- How long ago was that?
- Bicycles began to be popular circa 1880. Who invented the first popular bike?
- Was it challenging to ride bicycles on cobblestones?
- Two blocks past–were the tires originally wood?
- Who would have made the first tires for bicycles in rural America?
- Were blacksmiths involved in putting together tires and if so, what did they think of the first person to come to them with a bicycle idea?
- What would it have been like to have helped put together an early bicycle in a small town?
- What would that man, working outside, have thought the first time he saw a bicycle ridden away–probably on a dirt path?
- Would it have made him want to learn to ride one as well, and to explore the world?
- Or would a bicycle manufacturer have been content merely to build bicycles for others to ride?
- If it wasn’t originally his idea would he have tinkered with the concept?
- Then what?
Three blocks and my mind was afire.
But I was going to church, so I filed it away.
Don’t have three blocks? How about one minute?
I came up with another idea in less than a minute yesterday.
A friend asked if I would be interested in contributing for a novella collection centering on stories set on a body of water during the 19th century.
Think of the drama as a determined engineer tries to put together his warship while his girlfriend watches in dismay.
He could die!
It could sink (it’s supposed to sink!), but he might not survive!
(Wait, this idea may be hitting too close to the girl I once was . . . That means I could write with genuine feeling!)
I loved the idea.
But, alas, I’m too busy right now to write for the collection.
Still, the germ of the story idea came in no time.
All I needed was a little time, access to Google (that’s them screaming–“not her again!”) and I’m ready to write.
How about you?
Set a timer.
Can you come up with a story idea in less than a minute?
What if I gave you three blocks?
A story idea in one minute? Click to Tweet
Plotting an idea in three blocks. Click to Tweet
How the mind dreams up a story: a description. Click to Tweet