Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Take a Hike and Find a Story

If you're looking for story ideas, one way to generate them is to get out and take a walk.

It helps if you can walk in an area you don't already know by heart, but anywhere you go, there are stories to be found. Keep your eyes open. That kind of strange building on the corner? What could that have been? Not necessarily in reality, but in your imagination. Are the decorations possibly symbols of some heroic or diabolical nature?

And what about that person you just passed on the street, the man who looked like he didn't want to be seen? Why? What's he up to? Is he hiding? What could he be hiding from.

Keep your ears open too. Maybe you'll hear a snippet of a conversation. The other day, I walked past two guys. One of them was saying, "The Day the Earth Stood Still, the original, that was a really--." That's all I heard. How would he have finished the sentence? Why was he talking about it? Could he have been an alien laughing at the way Earthlings view men from outer space?

If you happen to be where there are fountains or statues, look at them. Really look at them. Ask yourself about their expressions, what they are up too. Like this fountain I saw on Sunday:

Why are they so happy? Why is the child in the background almost peaceful when one of her companions looks like this:

I also happen to know that this little park is the site of the Huntington mansion, which burned in the San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906. The only mansion that survived on this part of Nob Hill is in the background of this picture. Are these children dancing to celebrate the open space that was created by the destruction of a great house that was meant to be a symbol of not only wealth but superiority? Are they happy the other place survived? Or are they enjoying a brief moment of San Francisco sunshine? Maybe something exciting just happened in their lives.

There are stories everywhere. If you open your senses and explore with the objective of finding the stories that are around you, you'll find one.

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