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Random Inspirations

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!

3 thoughts on “Random Inspirations

  1. “StumbleUpon” has been feeding quite a few people to my site and I didn’t register or sign up for it. Not that I mind…

    Frank Warren has released a book of all the best postcards he received for his POST SECRET project and it’s a stunner. Every page has a message that’s funny, sad or utterly chilling. You get the full range of human joy and folly, real insights into the things people keep inside us…

  2. I love Post Secret – great site – but sometimes depressing. And yah…HALO 3 is something I’m fulled immersed in at this point. Probably not a good thing. Congrats on the site traffic btw. 🙂

  3. I have to admit to being a PostSecret fan.

    OneSentence sounds really good.

    I just like reading my blogs, you know? The blogs I read from my personal journal are much more varied than those of my writing journal blogroll. Reading those people’s blogs helps remind me how not all people, and therefore characters, are like me or have my experience. It helps me learn about ways of thinking and to learn reactions that wouldn’t be the same as my own.

    And of course there’s always random inspiration to be had in other people’s day to day.

    Thanks for a really interesting post.

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