Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Superstition May Be the Way

With apologies to Stevie Wonder, of course!

As mentioned in previous posts, "where do you get your ideas?" is a frequent question. So I've decided to occasionally post what I'm calling plot sparkers (they'll be in their own little category over in the right column) to help you create new ideas for stories.

And today's sparker concerns superstition. Don't make the mistake of thinking this kind of sparker will always create a horror story... because it won't. In fact, some of your funniest stories may get started from a superstition.

Superstitions are more than just spooky beliefs from the Dark Ages. Plenty of people are superstitious, as I have been reminded by a couple of Bud Light commercial that have aired during football games lately. One is just a series of superstitions performed by different fans (with Superstition as the soundtrack), but this one is the one that really caught my eye:

Completely silly, isn't it? But you can easily see how such a superstition could form the basis of a plot -- yes, even the plot of a children's book! Let me give you a couple of examples -- feel free to use them if you like:
  • A kid sees his dad do this with friends at a football game and decides to do a science fair project to test the theory. Does it work with sodas or milk as well as beer? Does it work for other things besides football? You can see where this might go.
  • In a related line of thought, the kid might ask his dad to explain it. Suppose his dad, unwilling to admit it's just silly desperation (that could be a story in itself), fabricates an explanation, not unlike the bizarre explanation given by the fan in the commercial. ("Our proximity to the field creates a parallel connection between the bottle and the ball..." REALLY?) Now suppose the kid decides to "fix" a ball game with his friends...
You get the idea. These could end up being serious or funny, depending on how you choose to handle them. Ideas are only building blocks.

So superstition could be the way to create a good story... regardless of what Stevie thinks. After all, it gave him the idea for a hit song, didn't it?

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