Monday, December 12, 2011

Articles that start fiction ideas, #1

Not sure how many more there will be.

Look, we fiction writers are heartless evil swine, when you come down to it.  Ask the people we make up whether they wouldn't be in the real indifferent world than one in which they are created (and destroyed) solely to amuse others.   Tom Wolfe did a hilarious and true portrait in "Mauve Gloves and Madmen" of a writer who couldn't keep his mind on his own father's funeral while attending it, because he was too busy noting details to describe later.  If you write fiction well enough to get paid (or at least published by people who don't know you) you have some similar stories.

The anguish of strangers -- and friends -- is where we find interesting stuff.  (Part of why I'm addicted to advice columnists). 

That said: here's a thoughtful, powerful article that raises vital questions of many kinds, about LGBT suicide and about adolescent bullying.  People who are involved in making the world better should probably read it.

But fiction writers should definitely read it.  I see a hundred story ideas in this short piece, everything from vignettes to novels.  It's even phrased perfectly for us: "What if ...."

So, my fellow heartless evil swine, (and with a tip of the hat to Nalo Hopkinson, whose tweet led me to it) here's the first of an indefinitely long list of places to find some ideas.