We’ve left Easter behind and are now looking forward to… what?

Inspiration. Constantly on the lookout for inspiration. Today could lend itself to a short story about a gloriously sunny outing to the beach. Looking out of my window it could be a Sunday football match at the park, and accident on a builder’s scaffold, or the noise of a car crash on the main road that’s just about visible.

Take that last one for example. Let’s say I’m working on a flash fiction story; what could I cram into one hundred words on a car crash I can barely see? I could trim the road size down a bit, isolate the location thus making the road’s destination only one place: my house. I could be waiting for a visitor – a family member or, if I wanted to, swerve into gangster territory, a mafia boss I’ve been expecting. It could be a war zone where I’ve planted some land mines to defend myself and my fictional family.

Those ideas have come to me as I’ve typed in the past three or four minutes. I’m not bragging (though I am a genius), I am simply illustrating that “lack of inspiration” is not an excuse at the very start of a story. When kicking off whatever type of fiction you’re working on there is ALWAYS something or someone nearby to give you a taking off point. You don’t have to love it, you could even start writing knowing that you won’t make it to the end or use it for anything formal. Because you will get ideas you may use elsewhere.

Take that hypothetical above. I suggested a family member visiting. The story could be set as I ran across the field, simultaneously trying to see what’s happening and relaying why I’m anxiously awaiting for their visit. It could have been a long-brewing conflict with an estranged sibling who is approaching to give me hell. I could be an utter bastard who slept with his missus or something. And THEN you could decide that you don’t like the car crash element but the vengeful sibling feels like it has great opportunity – so you swap the setting for a birthday party where tension is created with the narrator just knowing that today is the day he will be found out. Boom, a separate story generated by looking out of the window.

Who says “boom” these days?

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