As a writer, I often get asked where I get my ideas for stories. Well, sometimes interesting ideas just attack me unexpectedly.
Just over a week ago, I was attacked by a rooster while doing chores for my parents. Of course, I joked about it on Facebook and even posted pictures of the territorial bird and the growing bruise on my leg. What I intended to be a one-day status update sparked a conversation with laughing and commiserating friends.
Then a couple of them suggested I should write a rooster into a book and suddenly I knew exactly which of my characters would benefit from a future face-off. Since I’m not ready to write that scene yet, I made sure to take enough notes to capture the essence of the encounter including the stinging wound on my shin and the shiver of anxiety as I put my hand on the latch of the coop the next day.
A rooster isn’t the only unexpected story idea to hit me. Once I was actually hit in the head by a foul ball at a little league baseball game and ended up with a concussion. So a few years later, I had the heroine in a manuscript get hit so that the hero could rush in to her rescue. During a rewrite, I had to change the timeline of the events making it out-of-season for baseball so my poor heroine got hit with a hockey puck instead. Same story impact. Ouch!
Then there was the day I came home from running errands to find a flood across my kitchen floor that was soaking into the living room carpet thanks to a broken dishwasher. Cleaning up the mess on an already hectic day became a scene in one of my earlier stories followed by a heroic handyman who showed up to make the repair. (Um, my real repair was done by my husband with my dad’s help.)
But my dishwasher woes weren’t over. A few years later, the dishwasher developed a new problem that I caught soon after water began splashing out around the door. Thanks to a YouTube video, I was able to fix that issue all by myself! A future heroine in a story that’s already plotted out will do some dishwasher fixing of her own to the chagrin of the true handyman who gets his inflated pride dented.
Now whenever disasters strike, I’m starting to see them as gems of ideas for future plot problems, especially since I can easily transfer the personal emotion of the events onto the page. All thanks to an attacking rooster.
If you have any farm animals such as these, I would suggest you check out the Tool Nerds website and get handy tools for affordable prices at home to maintain and build their cages.
What about you? Have you survived any scrapes that would be great ideas for a book? Do you have any good chicken recipes to share in case Mr. Rooster gets axed? (Just kidding. Sort of. Call it research for the future story situation.)