There are a few new followers at Entertaining Stories, so I'll explain myself. Idea Mill posts occur sporadically whenever I have enough information. I get news pushed to me from various sources on topics that interest me. (Not presidential debates) When something strikes me, I save the article and post it here when I have three articles.
The hope is that something will kick your Muse in the pants, and you can enhance your next novel or short story.
Let's start off with a bit of experimental fabric. It contains small cameras, and has some kind of silicone “feelers” all over it. The fashion industry made it into a dress that can tell when someone is checking you out. The cameras recognize facial features and can distinguish between a gaze and someone looking into the distance. When the fabric detects a look, the feelers move to point at the looker.
This is a terrible idea on so many fronts. Girls want to be looked at. Boys want to look. Neither side wants to acknowledge the moment, and sure don't want to share it with the world. “Hey, my eyes are up here.” (What? I'm talking about beard stares.) you can read the article, and watch a video here.
This would make a great feature for aliens. Perhaps an occupied Earth has bands of freedom fighters scattered here and there. These aliens are going to be hard to sneak up on, because their feelers point at you if you look at them. Their team mates with the guns all turn… Mayhem.
This next one impresses me. A college kid took a whole bunch of Rubic's Cubes, and made a mural out of it. His Muse was Cardinal baseball great Stan Musial. The artwork is so good that the Cardinals acquired it and hung it in their clubhouse permanently. It really is impressive, and you should look at the image before you go. Click here.
I don't know how it relates to speculative fiction, but it adds a lot of credibility to a character with a special mind. Characters like this are interesting, and make good reading. They might solve a mystery using skills ordinary folks don't have. Remember he had to solve all those cubes, in exactly the right position, before putting them together in his mural.
Let's end this one with a crypdid. Something new on the cryptid front doesn't happen every day. A tourist was taking a cruise off the coast of Greece. He snapped a picture, and got something unexpected. It absolutely looks like a marine mammal of some kind. It's just that it's a previously unknown kind. Read the article here, and check out the picture yourself.
This article gets even more interesting, because several pods of whales were recently spotted that were listed as extinct. I nearly included them on the list, but a genuine cryptid trumps them. It goes to show that we don't know everything, and there is an awful lot of our planet we haven't explored.
There are any number of ways to go with a cryptid story. Some like them hungry and dangerous, others want to protect them from those who would collect them as trophies. Pick your hero and type away. Water is a great way to add danger. The risk of capsizing miles from shore, or drowning adds an extra layer.
My usual shtick is to come up with something that incorporates all three news items. This is going to be hard, because they don't all relate very well. Here goes nothing…
There is a competition held on a ship off the Greek Islands somewhere. Invitees are asked to bring their creations and compete in various categories. Mr. Special Mind checks out the girl in the dress that rats out his gaze. He solves a Rubic's Cube in seconds to impress her. She gives him the stink eye, and snaps a picture over his shoulder. The cryptid appears in the photo. The girl who invented the dress, and Mr. Special Mind team up to identify, then protect this amazing new creature. Possible romantic sub-plot.
What would you do with these news items? Do any of them inspire you to write about them? Would you use them as a story element in a different story? My conglomeration story sucks, but I'll shamelessly accept compliments anyway. That's how I roll.