Thursday, January 12, 2017

Old Experiences, New Stories

Often when I go looking for a new story idea I find myself thinking back on old experiences or some old event. I've found that more often than not I can find something rattling around back there that gives me a new perspective or a new idea I can pull into the present and write about.  Either that or I can use it as a basis for a new story.

I've old written about how I used a simple statement my mother once made the first time she saw my father. She was just a pre-teen then, but she knew he held the key to her future. "I'm going to marry that man someday," she said. It took years and a separation by war before they were eventually able to get together but it happened, and they shared 48 years together. I used that statement in my romance novel, :Home Fires Burning."

Later in college I had a crazy experience in an old company store in the Colorado mountains. The place was supposed to be haunted and a man supposedly died there and his bloody handprint on the wall. That has become the basis for my Dead Man series.

Old stories, past events, old memories can still bring up new ideas.  In the fall I spent an afternoon at Fort Bent, the old trading post that has been renovated to its original setting by the National Park Service along the Santa Fe Trail. 

Sitting in the quiet shade on a hot afternoon, I was taken by the thoughts of the old wagons that might have come rolling through the gates. After reading a couple of stories about some of the people who came to Fort Bent, I found myself wanting to write my own short story about the promise, the fears and the dangers that some of those people faced. I am currently working on that.

Next week I'll be boarding an Amtrak train for a trip through the Colorado mountains. I've never done that in the winter, but I bet I meet someone who will have a story idea for me.  The first time I took the trip I came up with a good mystery idea when the lights all went out as we went through the Moffatt Tunnel. That story still isn't written, but it's out there in my TBW file. (To Be Written) Who knows, I may write it as I sit aboard the train next week.

Look for those ideas.  They're all around you, even on a silent afternoon or in a dark tunnel.

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