Short Story Writing – Don’t try this at home! – Part 5

This is not a treatise, but a tongue in cheek, discussion on how to write short stories.   Suffice to say this is not the definitive way of doing it, just mine.  It works for me – it might not work for you.

Now we have the where and the who.  What’s the story going to be about?

I find inspiration in the most unlikely places.

Shopping malls are great, there is so many things going on, so many different types of people, there’s often enough to fill a journal.

Driving on the roads, you get to see some of the most amazing stunt driving, and it’s not even being filmed, it’s just playing out before your very eyes.

Waiting in hospitals, waiting for doctors, accountants, dentists, friends, hanging around coffee shops, cafes, bistros, restaurants, hotels, the list is endless.

But often a reliable source, the media and newspapers in particular, and a frequent go to, and the more obscure the headline the better.  Then it’s simply a matter of letting your imagination run free, like:

Four deaths, four mysteries, all homeless.

This poses a few interesting scenarios, such as, were they homeless or were they made to look like they are homeless.  If they are genuinely homeless how did they die?  Are they connected in any way?

The point is, far from the original story that simply covers four seemingly random deaths, a writer can spin this into a thriller very easily.

It could follow a similar headline in another country where three headlines could be found, say, in London, where a man is found dead in an abandoned building, a week after he died, with no obvious signs of how he died.

A woman is killed in what seems, from the outset, an accident involving two cars, but the kicker is after three days, the driver of the second vehicle just simply disappears.

A man is reported missing after not reporting for work when he was supposed to return from a vacation in Germany.

And the third death, where an obscure piece says a man was found at the bottom of a mountain, presumed to have fallen in a climbing accident.

It’s all in the joining of the imaginary, yet possibly quite real, dots.

You could be on a train, and two people are acting oddly, note I didn’t say suspiciously, when going to or from work.

When on a holiday, you notice that a fellow hotel guest is in the same place at the same time every day but acting like he or she is waiting for someone or something.  Then suddenly they’re not there.

But I’m not suggesting for a minute you should start investigating.

Just let the imagination work it’s tricks.

And, before you know it, you’re on that rollercoaster ride.

Maybe there’ll be less confusion tomorrow.

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