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Story Seeds


What are the sources of your inspiration, they ask (whoever happens to ask the question, btw)?

And I always reply: music and images.

But how does that work exactly? How do you turn a piece of music or an image into a story?

The answer lies in the picture above.

Yes, it does!

Someone saw the picture and asked, what’s going on here? Why are these women so excited about a story aimed at teenage girls? What’s up with the sign?

Their answer: “This is what happens when Daddy stops touching Mommy”.

It’s starts with what attracted you about the image or song? The juxtaposition of the sign with the excited look on the women probably did it for you (or maybe it was the mini-skirts?). So you start asking questions, like the ones above, the who, the what, the where and the most important, the why? You are not critiquing the picture, you’re exploring your reaction too it.  That’s where the story begins. Your answers lead to more questions and before you know it you have a story built around those answers. Thus a simple picture leads you to the proverbial thousand words, your thousand words.

The same thing with music. In fact music is a bit easier since it tends to evoke strong emotions and images in most of us.  We are used to music playing in the background on games, movies and TV (not to mention the whole music video industry is made around tying images to music). Do you imagine hearing the song in an apartment at night? A noisy disco? While riding a horse across an open plain?

The difference lies in what the media doesn’t give you. A picture gives you a visual, so don’t waste your time trying to describe what you see, instead focus on the story behind the image, that is what happened before, during and after it was taken, and why.

On the other hand, when music is your muse, you have provide the images. You have the mood and even the story (if your going the straight music video approach to writing), but you don’t have images. Of course, you can always use images and music together and see where they take you.

Here is a piece of music created for use in movie/game trailers, let’s see what it does for you?

So what are you waiting for, go write!

11 comments on “Story Seeds

  1. Story seeds grow best with tea. My ones do anyway.

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  2. That’s why I like doing poetry prompts. They give me a place to start. Rather, they give me a place to force myself to start because I often feel like a poetic black hole.

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    • I don’t know, prompts remind me of school, where a teacher told me “read this” or “write that” which invariably led to me neither writing or reading any of it. Of course, if they work for you, more power to you! 😉

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  3. Most of my ideas stem from dreams or just weird images/thoughts that pop into my head.

    Is there a particular story you wrote that stemmed from a certain song or piece of music?

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  4. I might not have started to write at all if weren’t for music 🙂

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  5. Music is a huge part of the writing process for me: I got the greatest idea the other day from a line in a song. 🙂 Nice post, Ralph.

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    • Cool! And thank you! Of course I also write to the sound of music, making a playlist per story, sort of it’s own soundtrack. Helps me focus on the mood and feel of it.

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