1. Epitaphs are one of my favorite places to discover titles and stories. Think about it, you’re basically summing up the life, or the character, or your feelings about a loved one, all in a few words. While perusing memorials for ideas, I found Everlasting Memorials, and they had a really great list of epitaph options:
2 List of Passions, Fears, Memories. What do you love? What do you hate? What moves you? What locations, items, seasons, events, etc., hold a special place in your memory?
In his brilliant book, “Zen in the Art of Writing,” the late great—and one of the greatest storytellers of all time—Ray Bradbury shared;
“But along through those years I began to make lists of titles, to put down long lines of nouns. these lists were the provocations, finally, that caused my better stuff to surface. I was feeling my way toward something honest, hidden under the trapdoor on the top of my skull.
The Lists ran something like this: THE LAKE. THE NIGHT. THE CRICKETS. THE RAVINE. THE ATTIC. THE BASEMENT. THE TRAPDOOR. THE BABY. THE CROWD. THE NIGHT TRAIN/ THE FOG HORN. THE SCYTHE. THE CARNIVAL. THE CAROUSEL. THE DWARF. THE MIRROR MAZE. THE SKELETON.”
- Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing.
Yea, pretty amazing right? If you’re a Bradbury fan—and I’d be ashamed to admit I wasn’t, if I were you—you can see how his list turned into several amazing stories.
3 Interviews with Serial Killers and Psychopaths. Although this may sounds really odd, some of stuff these people say is much, much odder (odder...more odd...hmm). Although most people could care less what killers say, I’ve found that a lot of their insane chatter is perfect for the stuff stories are made of.
“I was born with the devil in me. I could not help the fact that I was a murderer, no more than the poet can help the inspiration to sing..I was born with the evil one standing as my sponsor beside the bed where I was ushered into the world, and he has been with me since.” - H. H. Holmes
“Even when she was dead she was still bitching at me. I couldn’t get her to shut up.” - Edmund Kemper (Big Ed).
“I carried it too far, that’s for sure.” - Jeffrey Dahmer
“A clown can get away with murder.” Or how about, “The only thing they can get me for is running a funeral parlor without a license.” - John Wayne Gacy
4 Specialty Websites. I shared in my last post tips for character development. One of the places I shared as a favorite place to allow characters to introduce themselves and tell you their story was on apartment and reality web pages. One of the places I could have added, but didn’t have the time or space to, was specialty pages. Specialty pages usually always have photos of people that are dying to tell you their story. It’s on their faces, in their body posture, behind their eyes. A character recently introduced herself to me from theanswer.ca.
I was searching words like: Life, Purpose, Existence, Reality, The TRUTH, The Fear, Frequency, Perception, The LIE, The Answer… and that’s when she caught my eye. Her eyes said something that I couldn’t quite make out; her body was telling me another part of a story; the fingers touching the side of her face...was that just for the camera or was is another clue? The name of the fashion business is, “The Answer”. That was even more intriguing. Eventually, she told me her amazing story, which I can’t tell now, but I’ll let you know when it’s published. :)
Try it yourself. Just browse. Find those characters that are trying to tell you their amazing story.
5 Quotes. I rely on these frequently for many creative writing ideas. Search, “Famous Quotes,” and then choose ‘IMAGE’ search. the reason for this is because the quotes that people have turned into memes of jpeg pictures are quotes that have affected people enough to take the time to make those quotes. If you’re thinking in a specific direction make sure the search is specific. By adding an addition (+) between words, you ensure all the words you’re searching are included in the search.
Example: “Famous+Quotes+Writers” will bring up pics that have famous quotes from writers, or about writers. “Famous+Quotes+Einstein” will bring up famous quotes from Albert Einstein, or about Einstein.
Here's a few great quotes:
“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything.”
“We build too many walls and not enough bridges.”
“If you think you can do a thing, or think you cannot do a thing, you’re right.”
“You cannot love a thing without wanting to fight for it”.
“It’s the scary choices that end up being the most worthwhile.”
Melissa Joy Kong
“Monsters are real, ghosts are real too. they live inside us, and sometimes they win.”
There really are amazing characters and stories everywhere. I hate seeing all these film remakes and so few creative, new, fresh stories being told when there’s way too many stories, all over the place, begging to be told. Real storytellers don’t waste their time re-telling everyone else's stories. They’re storytellers, they tell their own.
We must not lessen the value of our craft by neglecting own creative ability, and closing our ears to the prompting of our muse.
Check back Friday for part 2.
Let me know if you’re enjoying my posts. Do you have ideas, questions, suggestions, you’d like to see me write on? Email me. I’d enjoy hearing from you.
Cheers to you,
May 20, 2015
SippingOn Literary Espresso
by: Samuel Connelly
Connect With Me On Twitter: @SamuelWConnelly
The Writer's Life:
Sam's QUESTION of the Week
When I'm writing, I LOVE to snack. Not gonna lie. Although tonight was a buffalo wing kinda night, cheese, wine, fruit, veggies & coffee are my usual favs. What's yours?
When We Have To Fight: Freeing The NOW To Save TOMORROW.
Top Five from SamTheWriter...
Tiny Tips For Writers