The Idea Mill #24

My blog tour seems to have an empty slot today, and that's a good thing. While all of those posts were individually written, and provide unique content, they all have the same underlying theme.

I like to provide unique things here to keep interest up, and it's time for another visit to the old Idea Mill.

Our first article is kind of short. It involves the discovery of an old shoe inside the walls of a house. It was the house of the Headmaster of Cambridge University, and was placed there 300 years ago. So what? I'm sure if they dig out my ductwork someone would probably find a plastic GI-Joe or two. This kind of thing happens everywhere, right?

In this case, it seems as though the shoe was placed on purpose to keep evil spirits out of the house. It was located near the chimney, a likely place for those spirits to enter. This one is more cool points if it's included in a story, but to me, the story is why it was placed in the first place. It might be a good story about a haunted house, that was only resolved by placing the shoe. Maybe it's a new construction, and family lore-masters neglected to tell the new homeowner about the family curse. Terrifying nights lead Grandma to visit, tell the story, and place the shoe. You can read the article here.

This next one almost qualifies as a cryptid, except those are always an animal of some kind. It's an article about the Black Knight Satellite. Rumor has it that Tesla first detected its signals from his base in Colorado. It orbits the Earth's poles and emits a cryptic signal. The fact is that humans didn't place it. It's a good article, and you should read it. Here is the link.

Like all amateur investigations, someone is obviously drawing conclusions, then looking for evidence to support the conclusion. Still, there is enough controversy out there to really make something cool out of it. The government coverup theory is already in place, so run with it. Is it a spy from an alien civilization? Is Earth just a reality show for bored aliens somewhere? Maybe Earth is an experiment to study human evolution and this is the broadcast source. Maybe we sent that postcard into space all those years ago as an answer to the Black Knight's message. It sounds like there could be any number of good short stories involving this one. As a novel, it would have to be a piece of a larger puzzle.

This next segment is actually based upon two articles. There is a lot of overlap, but some items are unique to each article. Here are the links: Article One and Article Two.

It's basically a list of things on a timeline for comparison. I liked the idea that there were still wooly mammoths around while the pyramids were being built. The idea that France was still using the guillotine when Star Wars premiered is also kind of a mind bender. How about America hot rodding around on the surface of the moon in the same year that Switzerland gave women the right to vote.

These are harder to deal with in the scope of a blog post, because each of them could be their own mini post. A little mind bending can add something to your fiction. Honestly, I included them so I wouldn't lose track of them.

Finally we have this one. The French Red Zone is still off limits to people 100 years after World War One. There is so much unexploded ordinance here that it's almost like a minefield. Hell, some of it probably is a minefield. This includes things like several kind of poison gas. Read the article here.

This one amazes me. Humans are pretty good at cleaning this kind of thing up. I'm writing this on September 11th, and the twin towers have been completely removed and reclaimed. In my mind, this doesn't make anyone lazy, it just means it was so much more horrible than we can imagine. They still wash out skeletal remains after a big storm. Plants are dying off from all the toxic waste. One-Hundred years later folks. Let that sink in for a bit.

Need a wasteland for your post-apocalyptic novel, start your research right here. Westley and Buttercup fled into the Fire Swamp and fought Rodents of Unusual Size. I'll see your Fire Swamp and raise you Verdun. I'm sure the chemicals can explain any number of monsters your plucky heroes might encounter. Maybe you want to make it a border to keep people away from your secret military base. Someone cleaned up the middle and now it's Area-51 European style.

Those are the articles. I included an extra one this time, because part of it was just a list. What would you create using something here as inspiration?

Part of the fun is outlining a corny story using all of the articles. This isn't going to be easy, but I like a challenge.

Cavemen responded to a signal from the Black Knight satellite and civilization began, they started building the pyramids and the Great Wall of China. The world's governments learned the truth, and World War One broke out to gain the secrets for the victor. It appears Black Knight has more secrets to share. Deep in the forest at Verdun is a secret base where the research is kept, but they had to place an old shoe in the walls to keep the Black Knight Satellite from driving the researchers mad.

Let's hear it folks; are you inclined to try a story based on something you learned here? Do you find the Idea Mill helpful at all? I've collected them into a category in my sidebar for easier research. Feel free to use them when your Muse needs a kick in the pants.

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36 Comments

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36 responses to “The Idea Mill #24

  1. 1. Honestly, I’d be more interested in finding out what happens when you remove the shoe. The spirits come back and start plaguing the family and possibly the entire area. Like they were trapped in the house after nearly killing the populace.

    2. Let’s go with alien, but it’s to watch humans kill themselves. The aliens have learned that we’re self-destructive and short-sighted. So, they’re patiently waiting for us to die off before they settle. Instead of military might, they’ve mastered terraforming, which means all the damage we’re doing can be undone.

    3. That is pretty cool and has a lot of story possibilities. Depends on the combo.

    4. I don’t have a story. Reminds me of how there are areas that still have landmines from old wars. Makes me question if we’re really good at cleaning it up or we need a reason to do it besides making sure people don’t stumble in and die. I’m having an oddly cynical day today.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I enjoy the Mill although I have not tried a story as a result of a visit. I do find my mind expanded by exposure to C. S. Boyack.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’ve not used any of these ideas yet, although I still remember something vaguely about sea magic? Does that ring any bells with you? I’ll have to search your database, cos my book 3, if it ever gets written, will involve the sea quite a lot.

    I love the story of the Black Knight… I’d never heard about it until Sacha Black posted about it, and I’m quite intrigued. The shoe, though… hmmm… sounds like something ‘experts’ can’t explain, so they shout ‘ritual’ as loud as they can in the hope it sounds authoritative. Lol! In Ireland, horseheads were buried under the floor of a new building to bring good luck to the inhabitants. These were de-fleshed, and the poor creaturrs may have died years before their severed heads were buried… ugh!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Cambodia has a similar issue to France. Tons of land mines were placed and never cleaned up. Tens of thousands of amputees. They sell Tshirts at the market in Phnom Penh that say “Danger, Land Mines” as a gruesome bit of tourist kitsch. I say all of that to say I loved the Idea Mill post today, especially the satellite….

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m thinking that shoe is there to keep out the ghost of the guy it belonged to. The same guy who was murdered in the house.

    I do love your Idea Mills.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I like the one about the shoe. Lol, LOVE your thinking, Mae Clair!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I really did need this, thank you. Although entertained, I can’t say I’ve gleaned any ideas from this, but I may link and link and end up in the weird internet and that’s always inspiring.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love the idea mill. It gives me a shake from the tendency to paint myself into a corner with whatever I’m currently writing. It’s like a reboot for the brain. Or a re-shoe in this case.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The shoe reminds me of Along Came a Spider when Sonaji left the sneaker in the mailbox for Alex Cross.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. These are a hoot, Craig! I especially love the one with the shoe… Only in my kind of stories, it’s not a ghost or evil spirits, it belonged to an intruder who was trying to break in through the chimney, and slipped through a hole into the wall where he died. The rats eventually ate the rest of him, and the owners eventually patched the hole in the chimney. The warped timeline events remind me of when Mike Steeden posts about Biblical times and Facebook posts among the less popular disciples. LOL The Red Zone leaves me speechless! WOW!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: Verdun | Behind the White Coat

  12. Pingback: The Idea Mill #24 — Entertaining Stories – Journal Edge

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