For more than a year now, people have been predicting the world will end this Friday. I was curious as to why, so I googled ‘end of the world.’ What I learned was that the Mayan calendar ends on December 21, 2012, which some people assume, means the world will end. I’m betting the calendar ends on this date because a bored cleric gave up all that tedious calculating for something more interesting to do.
Another reason for the end is that the planet Nibiru is making its several thousand-year orbit past the Earth and will collide with us on that date. Although, if it orbits the Earth every few thousand years, wouldn’t it have collided with us already? And then there are the Annunaki, the aliens who created us, who will be returning to take us all away. If the end comes, my money’s on them.
But what does any of this have to do with writing?
Well, assuming we all wake up on Saturday morning, you now have several ideas you can turn into plots. You can write an end of the world story, you can write about a character’s last days on Earth as we all wait for an oncoming planet to collide with us. You can write a story about aliens coming to take us away. You can write a story about what happens to a believer when he wakes up Saturday morning and realizes everything he’s believed in was a lie.
The internet has ensured that you will never be without an idea again. If you are the least bit curious, you can come up with dozens of ideas a day. Do you write Historical Fiction? Did you know we almost went to war with Canada because of a pig? That other countries have gone to war over what was portrayed on a postage stamp? That the Boston Massacre occurred because some people hanging out on the corner made comments about a passerby’s wig?
How did I learn about these things? I googled pig war, stamp war, wig war, and several other wars. In fact, if you google any noun followed by the word war, you’ll probably get several hits that will generate ideas, and with a little imagination (you are a writer, after all) you can turn many of them into story plots.
Interested in more contemporary stuff? You have access to thousands of newspapers worldwide. Surely, something going on in the world will be fodder for a story idea. Adventure - a child surviving a tropical storm, an earthquake, or tsunami. Sports - a teen in a foreign country competing in the Olympics. Romance – make your characters age appropriate and stick them in any scenario – living in a foreign country while competing in the Olympics, just as an earthquake hits.
Maybe the paranormal is your cup of tea. Google ghosts, haunted houses, ghost ships, voodoo dolls, ESP, telekinesis. The generalized articles will lead to others that are more specific. Read those that most appeal to you. At least one is bound to generate some ideas.
All these things will work for you no matter what genre you write. You can also read random Wikipedia articles, watch You Tube videos, read online magazines, seek out the weird and obscure. There are billions of idea starters out there. Grab a few, add your own unique twist to them, and start writing.
Well, maybe wait until Saturday. Just in case.