Today, I thought I'd write about two of my favorite phrases.
"What if...?" is the phrase that leads to story ideas. To generate a basic story concept, ask yourself a few what-if questions. They can be easy or outlandish or whatever. What if aliens landed in Saint George and discovered they were allergic to spaghetti? What if dogs could talk? What if Murray High School was really a secret training ground for the CIA?
Write your questions down, and maybe combine some of them. What if giant mushrooms took over Provo and what if Utah banned disco music, but what if Donna Summer's disco music was the only thing that could kill the mushrooms, but what if the Bee Gees made them more deadly? And what if all Donna Summer records were destroyed during the Great Disco Purge of 2116?
I've always loved sentences that start with these two words. It's related to "What if?" but involves some action. You're not only asking a question, you're acting it out. It's a playful phrase that can lead to almost anything.
Writing is all about pretending, about bringing ideas to life and exploring what could happen if they were real. That playful aspect is perhaps my favorite thing about writing.
How about you? What words or phrases get your creative juices flowing?