Story catalysts, gift-warped characters and other creative prods

No, it’s not a typo in the headline. It’s how I’d like to think of some of the real live genuine authentic true-life people found on a few strange but delightful web sites I’ve come across. Talk about truth being stranger than fiction.

If this doesn’t get your creative pot boiling with ideas for characters and story twists, then go back to accounting.

PostSecret is a site where people creatively represent one of their secrets on a homemade postcard. Do you think it’s true? I wonder if there’s more creativity here than genuine secret….

In much the same vein is Mortified: Woe and Tell, where people share their most embarrassing moments. Hmmm….got a few of my own I could send here….

Found Magazine has a strong ring of authenticity with its sometimes obscure, inane, touching but generally interesting detritus picked up from strangers’ lives. Great stuff here.

And then there is the hilarious PassiveAggressiveNotes.com, a site to which people send the notes they’ve seen or been left by others with an axe to grind. The ensuing discussions are also worth a look!

Happy browsing, and happy writing.

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1 Response to “Story catalysts, gift-warped characters and other creative prods”


  1. 1 Marsha January 21, 2008 at 2:28 am

    Interesting take on writing how-to books. Here are the first sentences in the introductory chapters of 4 such books:

    • It doesn’t matter where you start: the only thing that matters is where you finish. As Ezra Pound said, it doesn’t matter which leg of your table you make first, as long as it stands up in the end.
    ***Inspiring in acknowledging the many ways to reach your goal.

    • When you were young you made stories. You invented characters and situations and perhaps you had a running saga in your mind, an imagined world with its own rules, its own conflicts and rivalries, and heroes. No matter what happened in your ‘real’ life, not matter how powerless you felt, not matter how confusing or arbitrary or unfair the forces around seemed to be, in your imagined world, you were the hero, perhaps even the omnipotent being to which your characters were faithfully devoted.
    ***Long-winded way of setting the scene for the message that readers need to return to the same creative freedom they had as children.

    • The [book title] is a book of lessons. Collected, taught, refined, over 30 years, these lessons teach the writer in you how to finish your novel. This book gives you a schedule, a plan of attack to release the story that swirls through your very being.
    *** A little too directive? However, the book does just what it says in the introduction, providing a specific schedule for developing a novel. (Whether such a schedule is workable or not is a different matter!)

    • I find it both fascinating and disconcerting when I discover yet another person who believes that writing can’t be taught. Frankly, I don’t understand this point of view.
    ***I like that the author uses first-person immediately, which suggests a more personable approach.

    When selecting writing how-to books, I tend to skim the introductory chapter to see how the author speaks to me. Does the author sound inspiring, confident and energetic? Or does the author make writing sound tedious and difficult?

    Marsha http://www.writingcompanion.wordpress.com


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