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Archive for the ‘Creative Writing’ Category

Finding Inspiration from Dead Fish and Birds

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

A former teacher of mine once told me that if you’re looking for inspiration, try reading the newspaper.

In that spirit, this CNN article caught my eye over the weekend. It describes how over 5000 blackbirds were suddenly found dead–which reminded me of the events described in FlashForward (the TV show, not the book).

Not long after, another article appeared, describing how over 100,000 fish were discovered floating in a river only a hundred miles away.

The experts say that these two events are unrelated.

As a writer, I ask, “What if they’re not?”

Already I have dozens of ideas floating through my head on possible storylines stemming from this:

  • Pollution from a chemical plant is killing off wildlife
  • Something is poisoning the water, killing both fish and birds
  • Someone poisoned the fish, which then killed off the birds when they came to feed
  • A meteor crashes in a nearby lake that releases a deadly amoeba-like creature into the water

I’m sure you get the picture.  Dozens of scenarios could have caused these events, or these things could foreshadow other dire things to come.

I don’t think I’ll write a story on this one (in a large part because I have other works in progress), but I think this illustrates how easy it is to use real-life events to inspire new story ideas.

What news stories have you seen lately that you think would make good fiction?  Are you using it in one of your current projects?

Write or Die!

Monday, November 29th, 2010

Last week, I discovered a tool called Write or Die.  Besides having an awesome name, it’s also a fun writing tool.

At the above link, you can find the settings for the tool on the right.  Alternatively, you can use my settings (1000 words in 60 minutes).

The basic concept behind Write or Die is that you need to make the most of your writing time.  In normal mode, the background slowly fades from white to blood red whenever you stop typing.  If you stop typing for too long, you get an “annoying sound”–for my tries, I heard:

This is a great tool for when you’re having trouble getting started with your writing session, have a deadline you’re trying to hit, or just to help you fight the temptation to check your email while writing.

Check out Write or Die and let us know what you think!

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