Today I’m going to treat you to a peek into the bottom drawer of my file cabinet where I keep story ideas. But let me warn you--it’s full to overflowing--and I’m well aware I won’t live long enough to write all the stories begging to be told! (This is why I have the Small Person who writes almost as much as she reads!)
A few ideas from the many folders
14th Scottish Castle Losing Its Fight
Pickin’ and Ginnin’ at Louisiana’s Frogmore Plantation
Ex-Police Chief Arrived in Arkansas in Covered Wagon
Slaves, Freedmen Spied on South During Civil War
One Couple’s Civil War: Letters Trace Civil War for Writer’s Forbears
Winecoff Hotel Fire, Atlanta GA, December 7, 1946
Former Lunatic Asylum Now a Lure for Ghost Hunters
Chaplain Receives Medal of Honor 62 Years After Death
World War II
“We had to do it”--When the men went to fight, the women did the jobs left behind
Buffalo Bill Wild West Performer Reburied
And these random clippings/print-out I pulled from bulging folders are only the tip of the iceberg!
How do you write from a story already written?
1. Choose a story and read it carefully.
2. Jot down any points which touch your heart or make you wonder.
3. Create a new setting.
4. Create new characters.
5. Create a plot from a key word--example “reburied” or “had to do it” or “letters”.
It’s not so difficult after all. And with a drawer full of articles collected from newspapers or printed out from the computer (I probably have 50-60 pages of information on the Winecoff Hotel fire!) you’ll never lack for ideas.
1. If you take a newspaper, clip articles which catch your eye. You don’t have to read them immediately. If you subscribe online, copy and paste to a document.
2. Pick up flyers and brochures wherever you travel or stop in.
3. Carry a notebook and jot down what you see and hear.
The most important part!
Set up a filing system with labeled folders. It takes much less time than you imagine to fill those folders. If you don’t have a filing cabinet drawer available, get one of those “banker’s boxes”--they’re reasonably sturdy and hold a lot. But GET STARTED! Time is passing, stories are being lost--and you aren’t getting any younger. And if you have a Small Person in your life, encourage her imagination and creativity every day!