Thursday, June 29, 2006

Creative Writing: Getting Story Ideas When Truth Is Stranger than Fiction

This blog has already covered several ways to stir up story ideas when your creativity is at an impasse. Here’s another one: use the news.

Many times the stories you read in news sources really are stranger than fiction—and they offer good inspiration for both fiction and nonfiction stories.

To prove the point, I visited and found a news piece on their home page.

To see the entire piece, go to

The headline says, “UFO buffs say official denial 'alien to us.'”

The teaser copy reads, “SHEFFIELD, England (Reuters) -- Last month, the British Ministry of Defence made public a top secret report on UFOs, concluding that three decades of sightings had failed to produce evidence of visiting extraterrestrials.”

The story goes on to say that, despite a 500-page report released by Britain’s Ministry of Defense, UFO enthusiasts are still sure there’s a conspiracy in the works. So, how can you use this to create a new story?

Come on; this one’s easy! Here are some (to me) obvious fiction angles.

Sci-Fi: A skeptical reporter and UFO believer team up to delve deeper into the MoD’s report and end up having a close encounter of the 3rd kind, proving that years of UFO sightings are for real.

Suspense/Thriller: Same as above, but instead of discovering aliens, the pair discover a man-made secret far more sinister than any UFO cover-up—a secret that soon has them running for their lives.

Note: If you have a flair for the romantic, either of the above could also be turned into a cross-genre romance—you could even have someone fall in love with an alien…hmmm?

More next time on nonfiction ideas from this source.

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