How to Find Strange Inspirations
by Paul Nattress
Fancy an unusual twist to your story and need some inspiration?
I came up with the idea to write a short story called Hollow after reading a short paragraph in a book on strange phenomena (Borderlands by Mike Dash). The extract told of a woman who had stepped into an elevator and found herself the victim of strange beasts in the Hollow Earth. I decided to write about what happened if someone stepped into the same elevator and got involved in what was happening. The passage in the book didn’t go into great detail but the spark of a story was born.
The Internet is the perfect way to get access to strange phenomena, myths, legends and folklore.
The first place I would recommend would be Fortean Times - “The Journal of Strange Phenomena”. It has been around for quite a few years and many consider it the authority on such matters. The website is an offshoot of their printed magazine of the same name.
Folklore, myths and legends can provide a story for you to write about. You can modernise the story, set it in your home town, or change the setting to a historical or science fiction era. Take fearsome creatures from these legends and see how they would cope with modern-day living! Mysterious Britain is a great site that provides information about mysteries, legends and the paranormal in the British Isles.
The Museum of Hoaxes provides an insight to the mad and wonderful. Modern hoaxes, such as the website where you can bid to be the one to marry the owner of the site are in abundance.
Ghost stories are always very popular. Castle of Spirits has a page full of classic ghost stories and urban legends. Again, these tales can be modernised. Rather than a headless horseman terrorising Sleepy Hollow, could the spirit of a long dead managing director haunt the offices of a large company? How does he terrorise the staff? Maybe he writes fake memo’s about company profits. How do the employees find out about the ghost and how do they deal with it? Have fun, explore all the options in your story.
Fancy adding a bit of realism to your supernatural story? Want to intrigue your reader and have them thinking “what if…”? There are many sites dedicated to mysteries of the earth. The most popular is the legend of Atlantis. Try looking at Atlantis Rising - they have an archive of articles relating to theories such as the CIA’s use of remote viewers - psychic spies who can see events thousands of miles away. Open your mind to these ideas and see if they can inspire a story.
Graham Hancock has spent many years researching the idea that an ancient civilisation once inhabited the earth before the last ice age. Take a look at his website or read his books on the subject: Fingerprints of the Gods, Heaven’s Mirror and Underworld. Imagine what it would be like to live in that civilisation, or indeed to live in the utopia that Atlantis was said to be.
Take a look at some of the resources mentioned above, read a bit about the strange world we live in and then throw your characters into the heart of it. Open your mind, be creative and have fun!
Tell others about this page: