Friday, March 14, 2008

Pickles on the Floor - More Inspiring Ideas

I was walking down the hallway at work (alternative high school) today, and saw two pickle slices lying on the floor. Those two soggy green slices got me thinking.
If you read my earlier blog, you'll remember I wrote about how anything that takes you out of your routine is worth noting as a possible book idea. (Hey! I see you twirling your finger around your head by your ear!) Now, seriously, if you saw a book titled, "Pickles on the Floor" wouldn't you be curious? Wouldn't you pick it up at least to see what it was about? I would! So even though I don't know what "Pickles on the Floor" is about yet, it has come to me as a possible title, and I will tuck it away in my monstrous file folder of story ideas.
This method actually helped me write a YA novel that has had serious interest from two publishers. With a re-write, I have a chance at a 3rd even bigger publisher. It happened when I drove past a cemetery and saw an open grave. I remembered all the stories I'd heard about people falling into an open grave and not being able to climb out, so they had to wait for help. I began asking myself "what if...?" questions. What if someone fell in a grave a disappeared? Where would they go? What would happen to them? Would they ever get out? After I asked questions and played with lots of different answers, the ones I want settled into place, and I wrote the book.
So look for things out of the ordinary, ask yourself questions, and that creativity will grow from a trickle to a waterfall. How refreshing!
Shirley Bahlmann


Lee Ann Setzer said...

Shirley, you have a great eye for the quirky!

My kids and husband were stomping around the other day and found a complete, assembled bedframe in a stream. No one could figure out why, if you went to all that trouble to carry the bedframe that far, you couldn't just take it all the way to the dump.

"The Stream Bed." Ok. Now it just needs a story to go with it... This is fun!

Janet Kay Jensen said...

Great advice, Shirley! And you have the most fertile imagination I have ever encountered!


Christine Thackeray said...


I struggle with good hooks. I need to rub shoulders with you and hope some of your bright perspective is contagious.