Friday, February 13, 2009

Can Headlines Help Us?

Today's headlines rang out with sadness, Plane Crash Kill 50, Children Killed in Afghan Fight and Female Bomber Kills 39. My heart goes out to all those families affected by these tragedies and deaths.

As a writer I am always fascinated by human behavior and I am constantly wondering what is going on in a person's mind, like the female suicide bomber. What made her so committed and passionate about her cause, that she was willing to take her own life and the life of those around her? What was she thinking about before she committed this horrific act against humanity? What did she do that morning? Did she have a family? Did she cook them breakfast like it was a normal day? Was she an angry person?

These are the type of events that make me realize that many times, fact can be far stranger and more awful then fiction. But it is these events that we can draw upon as writers. We can imagine digging deep into the psyche of real life heroes and martyrs and begin to form believable characters and intriguing story lines.

Using this headline, you could create a story about a young Iraqi girl who grew up constantly seeking her father's approval; becoming passionate about his causes and trying all she could to show him that she was worthy of his love. This would lead to her final attempt and ultimately, her death.

Are there any of today's headlines that you could incorporate into your novel or use as the basis of a short story or essay?


Lindsay said...

I tend to ignore the mainstream news, for a lot of reasons I won't go into here, but I do think history (yesterday's news, heh heh) is a wonderful resource for crazier-than-fiction story ideas. I've gotten some great ideas just from watching the History Channel and listening to history-themed podcasts.

Kerrie said...

Mainstream news can be draining. I like the idea of getting ideas from the History Channel and I hadn't thought about podcasts.

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