By the time you read this post, the 2008 Olympics will be just a memory, but as I write it, they are still going strong, and once again, my husband and I are totally caught up in them…and staying up w-a-a-a-a-y too late watching certain events!
Although I’m undoubtedly the most un-athletic person ever, my original family was very much into listening to and watching sports events, and I married a man who was an award-winning gymnast. In fact, the first time he called me for a (blind) date, we spent nearly an hour talking about the Dodgers! So keeping up with various sports has always been a big part of my life. And every two years (counting the Winter Olympics) we are glued to the TV a lot more than we are at any other time.
What does all this have to do with writing? Well, it occurred to me that whatever our passion may be…sports, photography, music, knitting (I knit a whole vest while watching the Olympics!) or travel, to name just a few…we can usually find a way to incorporate these interests into our writing and use them as Story Starters.
One way I’ve found, using the Olympics as an example, is to look for the stories (and they all have them) behind the athletes’ performances to see if this triggers any ideas we can write about. Of course, their dedication and focus are obvious, but in addition, I like to pay attention to the athletes’ attitudes…friendly, humble, shy, excited, perhaps a bit of a show-off, and the mannerisms that display these attitudes. I also notice how they relate to the others on their team, their relationship with the coach, and their attitude towards the other teams. These can be a springboard (no pun intended!) to story ideas and also to ways to describe different characters in a story.
The country hosting the Olympics (in this case, China) can also bring forth a wealth of story ideas, particularly if you’ve been fortunate enough to visit there. But even without first-hand knowledge of the area, the history, cultural sites, and other minutiae about a country can provide many ideas to get you started.
This method can be applied to any activity that interests you. Just try looking at something in a new way and seek out “the stories behind the stories.” You may be pleasantly surprised at what you find.
For now, I’m back to my front row seat at the Olympics…and football season starts next week!
Contributed by Marjorie Flathers