Friday, January 28, 2011

Headlines as inspiration

I hate the phrase "ripped from the headlines" but sometimes it is appropriate. It's no surprise to me or anyone who knows me well that I finally created a character that's a reporter. I love knowing what's going on in the world, seeing the threads of where today's events originated in the past and speculating about where they might lead in the future. What writer hasn't been captivated by a headline? I always imagined crime news might be inspiring to mystery writers, especially crimes not easily solved. My husband has a subscription to Wired magazine and also checks their website often. The stories he relates to me sometimes sound like they would make great fodder for speculative fiction. If I wrote military sci-fi I would be keeping an eye on their DarpaWatch tag. The fact that they even have a DarpaWatch tag is kind of awesome. All kinds of weird little plot bunnies might be found by perusing the links collected at the Daily Grail news briefs. Sometimes it's just little odd stories that capture your imagination and insist on being filed away for future use in a story. I remember coming across one such item about a piano found in the woods. It was too far away from any homes to have been easily moved their and no one in the area had any idea how it got out in the middle of the forest like that. I had a vision of a pianist playing for Fae as they danced around the trees, and filed the thought away in case I might be able to work it into a story eventually.

Sometimes it's the big stories that fascinate me. I have conflicted feelings about the realities surrounding Wikileaks, but I have to say as a writer it fascinates me. If I wrote spy thrillers I would be all over this. There's stuff there for speculative fiction writers, though. Here's a great headline: Rumors continue that Wikileaks will release cables about "war" on UFOs. The headline alone is so great, you don't even need to click on the story before your imagination is off and running. Believe me, my imagination has galloped. But I have to build my fictional world before I soak it in gasoline and drop a match on it.

Have you ever been inspired by something you read in the paper or online news?


Misha said...

Not technically, but I watched this documentary about a guy that was wrongfully imprisoned.

He was freed, but then died two years later under mysterious circumstances.

My mind has been stewing on it ever since.


Nerine Dorman said...

LOL... I work at a newspaper... I sometimes read the headlines or scan big stories and wonder about the "behind the scenes" situations. I've yet to still have an idea grab me by the short and curlies, but I'm sure if I was ever hard up for an idea, I'd find ample inspiration in the South African newspapers.