I’ve gathered enough articles for another Idea Mill post. These are the little tidbits that lubricate my imagination. Most of them are worthy of a story element, a few might carry an entire plot.
The first article is about medeval books. It appears many of them contained tools of one kind or another. The author compares them to apps on a modern day phone. These tools could track the zodiac, play and interpret lucky numbers, and even let everyone know when Easter was that year. Read the actual article here.
There’s a lot an author could do with an ancient tool in a book. Maybe it’s the secret to tracking an ancient treasure. Maybe it allows someone to communicate with a malignant spirit or deliver a curse. It could be more modern too. What if a children’s pop-up book contains one of these tools that serves an evil purpose.
The second article is about something creepy in an Alabama swamp. A deputy sheriff, seeking a stolen car, discovered 21 dolls staked out in the swamp. The doll’s faces had been painted white, but a few were missing heads. You can read the story here.
This one is just creepy. Kids don’t normally get to play in the swamp, so I have to suspect an adult. What nefarious purpose do they serve? An author could make them number the members of a senate sub-committee, or a jury. They could align with certain stars. Maybe they keep the skunk ape at bay. The end result could be magic, or it could be a twisted pedophile keeping trophies.
The last two articles both came at the same time. Rather than hold one, I decided to give you four in this post.
Article number three is a photography article. I’m a very visual person, and find inspiration in art. My usual haunt is DeviantArt, but this article will do. It’s a series of abandoned items and buildings. View the actual photos here. What surprised me was the amount of personal property left behind in the buildings.
I can see the abandoned factory as the site of a superhero origination. I love the one with the old bottles and dirty mirror. Naphta on the same shelf with gin? There are also some creepy abandoned mannequins. These ought to inspire someone’s haunted house somewhere.
Finally, this post is about ten historic sites that were lost due to stupidity. It’s actually an important article without inspiring any fiction. You can read it here. I kind of wish the lady who burned up the ancient tree had stayed up there. What kind of selfish morons blew up Jona’s tomb?
The one that appealed to me was the Singapore stone. The Brits wanted to build a fort on the site, so they blew it up. At least they repurposed the rubble. The ancient text on the stone was lost forever. Like the last article, I see these more as story elements than plot drivers.
So what can we do with all this inspiration? Maybe an ancient book contains a tool that leads our plucky heroine on an adventure. It reveals some ancient curse that is coming true, as revealed in the placing of creepy dolls in one place, and creepy mannequins in another. She travels all over the world chasing ancient clues, but finds many of them destroyed due to stupidity.
Maybe our hero Deputy Dawg is chasing a serial killer. The creepy mannequins and the creepy dolls are related somehow. Maybe you need one of the abandoned buildings, or that abandoned mausoleum for your final climax.
Maybe you want to tie the destroyed ancient sites to aliens in a sci-fi epic of some kind.
Go crazy, people. What inspires you?