May 6 – Ripped From The Headlines

The Prompt

Steal a story from another source, and use it as inspiration


Great places to look for stories like this include:

  • News sites. Subjective sites like TMZ and Unworthy give you more editorial and emotion to work with. Harder news sites like The New York Times or the BBC, or the front page of Wikipedia, will give you more facts and less interpretation. Depending on your personality, one or other approach might be more inspiring to you.
  • Obituaries and alumni magazines are great places to find character studies. Obits give you a person’s life, summed up and including the one or two personal details someone else thought were the most interesting. Alumni magazines offer an insight into character in a different way: what kind of person updates their alumni magazine on ‘what I’ve been up to’? What kinds of things do these people think are worthy of report. What does that say about them?


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3 thoughts on “May 6 – Ripped From The Headlines”

  1. I’m done. My headline was ‘Sore throats stops Sam’s tour’.
    I opened my paper at random and picked the first headline I saw. Sam morphed into Jennifer. Jennifer became a presidential candidate who, on the eve of the election runs off with a childhood sweetheart, leaving her flunkies to make the ‘sore throat’ excuse.
    I was very in ‘flow’ with this story, partly because I fascinated at where it might go and also because I was in a bit of a panic that it was running away with me. But time sure flew by and I wrote 1600 words in 45 minutes.
    On another day, I think I might have a rethink about the outcome, but it was fun and it shows that inspiration for a story can come from anywhere.
    In one of Edward de Bono’s books, he suggests opening a page in a dictionary at random, picking any word and considering how that related to an issue at hand right now. Opening up a whole raft of lateral thinking opportunities.
    You can write about anything. Making it good enough is more of a question. But out there in the world, who am I to judge whether someone out there will not like my story.

    1. Influenced by the current all-polite news cycle, perhaps? And, as to whether or not others would enjoy the story, maybe you need to look for a critique group this summer? Maybe we should start one here…

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