Monday, February 8, 2010

Quirky Moments Provide Story Ideas

Whenever I talk about writing, the question I get the most often is this: "Where do you find your story ideas?" And luckily, the answer is fairly easy. From freelance to fiction, ideas are borne of those quirky little moments that make up a life.

For instance, where I work, there's a little man who always faces me when we ride the elevator together. That's all. He just faces me. But think about it - that's not elevator protocol. Elevator protocol dictates you face front, looking at the numbers. But no, this little guy looks toward the back, at me, with a big smile on his face, making the trip a surreal, somewhat hilarious three- to five-minute ride. There's a story in there somewhere - probably more than one.

And sometimes, on the way to work, I'll take a circuitious route that takes me past this little take-out chicken place. In the morning, early, I'll see their mascot, this giant chicken (naturally) walking back and forth on the sidwalk, flapping his wings, looking bored to tears and like he's yearning for a smoke. When I drive by and stop at the light, he waves to me, somewhat frantically, it seems. I've taken to waving tentatively back. I have to wonder what that job is like - along with all the other dress-up jobs we see, like the Statue of Liberty who'll do your taxes or the iconic Chuck E. Cheese.

If we pay attention to life's quirky moments, our writing notebooks will never be empty.

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