Story Development… where do you get your stories?

I used to think that writers needed to travel far and wide and to fill their lives with adventure in order to write compelling fiction. I’m not so sure that is entirely true.

To be a writer, you obviously need an imagination. Based on your imagination, you’ll have an easy or hard time coming up with a story that moves and one that grabs the reader. However, does it necessarily have to have a huge panoramic scope in order to be engaging?

A photographer helped me answer this question. You would think that a photographer would have to be well-travelled to find fresh, exciting material to photograph.

Not so. My friend does the most beautiful macro photography. She could make a complete series of award-winning photos by photographing a couple of square feet in her back yard. In fact, what brought this to mind is that we recently went down to the Indian River. While I photographed sailboats under the Melbourne Causeway, she was hunched over a little spot of the shoreline with her camera almost dipping into the water.

When I saw her photos the next day, it hit me that writers too  did not need huge settings for their stories. Stories can be just as compelling when set within a microcosm. You can easily make a small setting work for you. It’s how you tell the story that counts.

Even one of the little bubbles in the macro photography from that day could contain a whole civilization. What if a tiny bug whose family was dependent on him for survival became encapsulated in one tiny bubble as it bounced on the tiny ripples that, in scale, mirror a jaw-rocking storm at sea? No matter how hard the bug slams his body against the wall of that bubble he can’t penetrate it. What will happen to that bug and his family?  Yes, you have all the elements of a good action saga in just a speck of land.

The point?  Don’t limit yourself because you haven’t travelled to Africa or some exotic locale. There are plenty of stories waiting to be told in your own back yard.

About loubelcher

I'm a freelance artist and writer. I enjoy anything whimsical and my art and writing generally concentrate on the lighter side of life.
This entry was posted in fiction, Uncategorized, writing general and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Story Development… where do you get your stories?

  1. What an insightful post. I think the best stories often come from a writer who knows her subject well, whether it’s Africa, small town USA, etc. I know my best and most realistic stories come from five years waiting tables at a small restaurant. There was a morning coffee table. Five out of seven regular guys had the same name. And boy, the stories those old guys could tell, about Vietnam, about farming, about the “old days”…. It was such a pleasure.

    And I agree about the photography! My mom also loves taking photos, and recently she came home with photos of zebras (we live in southern Illinois!). So she didn’t even have to leave the county but found a local farmer who just bought two zebras, and he was just tickled pink to have somebody wanting to photograph them.

  2. theliteraryman says:

    I get so many story ideas from the books that I read. Authors will show you something of themselves in their writing, and those words, in turn, open up something inside you as a writer!

  3. Nancy says:

    I totally agree. I don’t go ANYWHERE usually and I think my little world is more than enough for inspiration.

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