Create Story Ideas By Learning Your Passions and Terrors

20 10 2022

I’m using voice to text software for this post to see how well it works. Today I want to talk about starting a short story from scratch without even an idea as to the type of monster to make or even the tone of the story. First thing, I created a list of experiences in life I found disturbing or scary:

Home invasions, Insects on my body, Blood, Helplessness, Cocooning, Parasitism,Delusion, Torture, Pitch black darkness, Greek Tragedy, Turning against loved ones, Betrayal of trust, Loss of free will/identity, Trapped underground, Being an outsider, Vanishing without a trace, Impending unpleasantness

I created a list of movies and media that really made a great impact and I wanted to emulate to any degree. I’m a little disappointed that I recalled more movies than books:

Hereditary, Megan Is Missing (the premise and ending are so disturbing, I dare not see the movie), Get Out, Ringu (I liked Ring more), The Strangers (again, I will not watch this), US, Open Water (nope, not watching it), The Descent (I’ll watch this eventually), Se7en, Frailty, Midsommar, The Mist (movie is better than the novella), Session 9, Tomei, Junji Ito manga, Lolita the novel (listen to Jeremy Irons do the audiobook its amazing)

I was wondering if humor could play a factor in this and if so, I could see if some humor could seep into the story. Here’s a list of stuff that was fun to make: to find out what I considered funny.

The Marx Brothers, The Three Stooges, Steve Martin, Fights that go back and forth across doorways, The Three Flavors Cornetto Trilogy (frigging brilliant), Pink Panther movies, Confederacy of Dunces, Hitchhikers Guides, Hyperbole and a Half, Jeeves and Wooster, Addams Family

There are a lot others but, yeah, I’m a middle-aged white bro.

I was surprised at the overlap between the disturbing and the funny.

Subverting tropes, Otherworldly mythos, Wordplay, Motivated yet relentless characters, Home invasions, Unreliable loved ones, More than a little self-delusion.

Now that I’ve done this, I can forget all about these lists and let them sit in the background.

Now let’s talk images and what they can spur. We hear of a writer experiencing something and being inspired by that sensation. I keep my Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, WordPress reader, YouTube, and Twitter loaded with photographers, artists, musicians, scientists, historians, psychologists, philosophers, and other smarties. I don’t get out much, so I need a steady supply of the Neato Ideas.

These Ideas will mix and mash and come up with things like:

A garland of roses looks like a coral worm, what if a vampire had duck louse instead of fangs, what if the YouTube algorithm invoked a primal Elder God, if dogs were elevated would they hire us to lick their asses, why doesn’t Delaware have cryptids or are they just real good at hiding, could post-humans lease out their body parts, would giants use people as kitchen appliances

Which are what’s been banging around in my head for the past week or so. Except the dog thing, that just occurred to me.

I’m doing all this because I am stripped of story ideas right now. I’m hoping something will shake out for a short story. It’s possible I may have to write to market for anthologies for a while just to get momentum back.

In future posts, I’ll show my next steps.

I've experienced two synchronicities and a life-altering experience in the past week.
I’ve experienced two synchronicities and a life-altering experience in the past week.



2 responses

20 10 2022
Amy Barton

Watch Palookaville (1995).

21 10 2022

Looks like what I’m talking about. Thanks!

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