More Short Story Ideas
(Continued from the page Short
If you feel strongly about some things, that's a great place
to look for ideas. For example, suppose you believe that courage
is not one moment of "brave" behavior as it is so often
portrayed as in movies and other stories. You think that there
is more courage shown in the unrecognized daily efforts that
many people make despite their fears.
The question to ask yourself then is, "How do I demonstrate
this in a story?" You might imagine a man who has been lazy
and cowardly as a way of life who tries to be the hero for the
day by jumping into a river to save a child. In the end he must
be saved as well by a policeman who has quietly trained and prepared
for situations like this, doing what is necessary to not only
be able, but to make it look so easy that it doesn't even seem
heroic or courageous.
If you want to be more systematic about this process, start
a list of important points you would like to make. You can write
a few down right now perhaps. Then as you watch the television
news and something makes you feel strongly one way or another,
express the belief behind that feeling and write it down. Every
time you disagree with a belief held by another you also have
something to write down.
At some point sit down with your list and think about how
to make a point or lesson of each item. Don't use the story as
an excuse for a speech by one of the characters though. Make
your point through the actions of the characters as much as possible.
That makes for a much more powerful story.
Ideas From Old Stories
This is a fun technique. It is hopefully useful, but is at
least worth a few laughs. The idea is to combine old stories
into new ones. The less similar the stories you start with, the
better. For example, the story of Adam and Eve combined with
"I Robot," could lead to an interesting new story.
Perhaps a pair of robots start a new world. Their "original
sin" might be the arising of their own consciousness, or
the rejection of man as their master.
How about "The Miracle Worker" and "Gorillas
in the Mist?" The struggles of an ape that learns at last
to speak and be independent? "Cool Hand Luke" and "Star
Wars?" The story of a man who brings life to the deathly
atmosphere of a penal colony in space? "Gone With The Wind"
and "Frankenstein?" The possibilities for ideas are
Playing around with the ideas presented in children's books
can result in good stories for adults. The basic plot in a book
meant for kids is usually very easy to understand. The challenge,
then is to take this and put it into a more adult context.