writerly ideas, right this way…

The idea for Wizard of Oz came from a file drawer label: O-Z.


The idea for Twilight came from a dream.  Yeah, that’s what she says.

And The Graveyard Book came from watching his two-year-old pedal his trike around a graveyard.

(You know what? That kid WANTS you to see his humiliation.  He posted it on youtube.  So point and snicker guilt-free.)


Writers seem to find ideas ripe, in the ether.  They just pluck ’em and plant ’em in their WIP. So what the heck is wrong with the rest of us?

Not a gosh-darn thing, Sparkle Plenty.

We just have to be pointed to the right substrata of ether:

FOUND MAGAZINE —A dollar bill stamped “I am not terrorized.”  A picture of a middle-aged woman in a cat costume with a shiny half-mask, surrounded by early 1960’s furniture, lounging on a bookshelf with encyclopedias.  A note: “Don’t put purse in freezer.”  A prosthetic nipple* with hair.  People send stray items into this website for daily publication.  Tell me you can’t come up with a story for the prosthetic nipple.  C’mon.  There’s a million ways to go with that.

ONE SENTENCE is about telling your story, briefly. Insignificant stories, everyday stories, or turning-point-in-your-life stories, boiled down to their bare essentials. The idea was born from a blog entry several years ago that got a million (actually, only 14) responses. “Maybe this will take off more as its own site,” thought I. Let’s see. [Quoting from the site.  As far as I can tell, this predates Tweet.  Hmmm.]

“I found out the girl of my dreams had a huge crush on me one week too late.”

“I soon discovered that thinking, ‘Don’t puke, don’t puke’ does not prevent one from puking in the middle of a final exam in front of 400 people.”

“I just couldn’t understand why my mother had no reaction when I informed her that her cat’s name meant ‘penis’ in another language.” *

SECRETTWEETIt’s pretty interesting how many people want to spill their guts…anonymously.  They twitter it here.

POST SECRET—And they send it here on post cards.

Gut wrenching, hilarious, confusing–whatever you need, I’m betting it’s been confessed on one of those sites.  And it’s all real.



So throw these sites in your writer’s toolbox.  Between the thumb drive (missing the cap that the cat has dragged somewhere) and the “I heart ellipses” button.  You know.  Under your License to Eavesdrop.


*Readers of this blog should not be easily offended.


About Lisha Cauthen

Lisha Cauthen writes YA novels for guys that girls like to read too.

Posted on March 25, 2009, in oddities, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Wow, that Secret Tweet site is crazy. The things people will say when they’re anonymous… I’m putting that on my blog roll for sure! Thanks for the great links!

%d bloggers like this: