Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Tricks to Start Writing

During the age of Pulp fiction, it wasn't uncommon for an author to spin a story from a mundane item -- a matchbox, letter, dead friend, statue, or other such things. Okay, maybe the dead friend isn't "mudane." What I mean by mudane is that the item (or dead friend) is not "supernatural." Secret codes were popular story starters as well, and mistaken identities (the film North by Northwest starts with that last approach).

Basically, what many authors did was find that commonplace item and create a backstory and story from it. The actual plot could vary from the mystery to adventure. From the technique, a number of notable tales appeared in publication, probably with little worry over the final product.

Like free-writing, it seems that a number of interesting adventures in writing can be found following this path. But what happens when a writer is boxed into a corner? In Pulp fiction it wasn't a crime to pull a rabbit out of a hat; that is to say, the old Deus ex Machina trick: someone or something completely unexpected appears to help resolve the story.

So why not take a statue, make it supernatural in some manner, and see what comes of it? I wonder what type of story that would result in?

1 comment:

Vwriter said...

Okay, I'm going to give this a try. First I'm using an old vacuum clearner. I'm on that one already this morning. Second, the small apartment house that I live in has been around since 1929, and it has a coal room so I'll try building a story from that. When those are both done, I'm going upstairs again to the huge old attick, where there are items that have been collected over the years by the various family members and include everything from a prehistoric microwave, to a television antenna build from a gunbelt, framed aluminum tubing, and World War I bullets half again as long as my index finger. I saw a dressmakers dummy in the corner and a bookshelf with yellowed magazines, and a small box, which, when I opened it, contained what appeared to be a rat skeleton.

Come to think of it, building stories out of everyday objects means you might never run out of ammunition.

Also, what is free writing?

I'll take the dressmaker's model from the attic and try the supernatural statue (okay, it's not a statue, but I don't have on of those in the attic) angle.

Thanks for all of the ideas on this posting!