Well yesterday I was introduced to a delightful way to waste time online. StumbleUpon allows you to set your interests and randomly browse the internet to find sites recommended by other members. It’s a toolbar kind of thing. If you’re one of those writers who has been spending too much time wandering the net instead of writing, then don’t download it! But anyway, I played around with it last night while hubby and a friend immersed themselves in Halo 3 and this morning while waiting on my tea to steep.
I came across One Sentence, where true stories are told in one sentence. When I came across the following line it occurred to me that this would be a great place to prowl around both for entertainment and inspiration.
My trust in the postal system was destroyed the day we received dead cockroaches in the mail.
What a beginning to something! I also liked this one.
Last Sunday, waiting in line to receive the Eucharist, I finally realized I’m an atheist.
You instantly realize that this person is probably a lifelong church-goer. Somebody who went because his or her family went and it was “the thing to do”. And of course the obvious that it isn’t the thing for this person to do.
Not only is this site good for random inspiration, it’s also good for teaching distillation. I know that the notion of a one-line concept of a book is really really hard for me to deal with. I know the whole story, so how can I possibly distill it into one line? This is perhaps not as good for that, but for opening lines, which I’ve already posted on elsewhere, definitely! Some are, obviously, better than others and you can submit your own. Lots of fun.
This discovery also got me thinking about other sites that would be good for random inspiration.
Any of the “Overheard In…” sites. One of the more popular is Overheard in New York. Though I haven’t been in a while, I’m a big fan of Overheard in Dublin because I love the Irish. There are Overheard In… sites all over the place. Just do a Google search and you’ll see lots of choices and all of them contain snippets of conversation overheard wherever the site is based. More great story ideas.
Also PostSecret. As described by the site
PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard.
There’s a book out there collecting them somewhere as well.
There are, no doubt, numerous other places for random inspiration. What are some of yours? Where do you go to look for inspiration? Share!