R.V. Doon

How Current Events Can Inspire Your Writing: The Manti Te’o Hoax

Hi, everyone here’s my update. I entered my dark fantasy in the ABNA contest, and I’m waiting to go through the first judging round.  I’m editing a thriller, and I wrote a short story to read to the Page Pounders for input. So, I’ve been busy. Recently, someone asked where do the story ideas come from? I decided story idea generation would be a great blog idea. I’ll show rather than tell my answer.

So, this is a common question especially for people who have had a successful first career and now have turned to writing in retirement or because their life has slowed down. Some people hold a story in their mind for decades and once it’s released they have trouble coming up with another idea. Current events or news stories can inspire your idea dreamin’ but remember not to plagiarize. Spin it! Now, I said I was done with the hoax story but really it provides great fodder for all types of writers.

FIRST, THE REAL STORY UPDATED:

For a Manti Te’o Hoax update go to my two posts and follow the links. The last piece of the hoax story is that Doctor Phil using professional voice analysts has proved there is no girl involved. Ronaiah Tuiasosopo has great vocal talent and he is the voice on the Te’o saved voice messages. Ronaiah is getting help, and the story is over except it’s a great story to mine for story ideas. Bear with me.

How To Twist A Current Event Story For Story Ideas:

1. Follow what if thoughts when reading a story.

2. Make setting changes, different states and universities, and a different type of sport.

3. No characters should resemble anyone in the original story.

4. You must add conflict and not the same conflict as in the story.

5. Take a great story and reveal its impact on someone we haven’t seen, like a real girlfriend pushed aside in the brouhaha.

Below are my humorous suggestions for different genres using the hoax story. Remember, I suggested a two-way romance in my posts. I thought the girl at the end of Manti’s phone had fallen in love and couldn’t break away despite trying to many times. I was wrong but its a good story idea.

The romance story line. A beautiful girl meets a state school athlete when she takes a math course at his college during the summer. He’s in love at first sight, she isn’t. Beautiful girl goes to a private school and is all set to embark on her year of study abroad. Her roommate, while not an ugly duckling isn’t quite the beautiful girl, answers her phone and she recognizes the athlete’s name because her little brother worships him. So, she pretends to be the beautiful girl and they both start to maybe…get feelings? When the athlete invites her to his big game, she breaks up with him because she can’t be the girl he remembers. The heart-broken star athlete, goes into a funk, and gets injured because he’s moping and not paying attention. She decides to come clean…but when she meets him and sees what she’s done, she feels ashamed. For atonement, she finds ways to help him get back on track. They fall in love and beautiful girl comes back and denies the story to reporters, plus the poor roommate is being blackmailed. Will she risk losing him or pay up?  Okay, it’s not great but you get the idea.

The inspirational story line. After an  arrogant, rude star athlete is publicly humiliated, he crashes and burns, but later uses what he learned during the crisis to put his life back together. The experience changes him, and he writes his healing method into a group of published poems called, Ruined. He’s hired the world over as an inspirational speaker to young athletes and those on the rocks. He realizes he’s found his calling when the person who destroyed him asks for his help.

The thriller story line. Unless star QB’s Marine uncle can track down who is black mailing him over a kinky tryst with a married woman, he has to throw the game in the come back sports story of the century. The athlete has to hold it together through the glare of interview lights and Deadspin reporters snooping around. The uncle, dealing with his own angst, works his way to a confrontation that could not only embarrass the University, his nephew, but hellfire, his Marine Corps too. The story is a ticking time bomb and the Hail Mary Pass for which the QB is famous for can either take his team into the record books or put his politician father in jail.

The fantasy story line. A magic warded cell phone brings lovers together. When it becomes lost, the cell phone ruins lives, breaks up marriages, and brings sanctions to one of the most honorable sports teams in the country. An alumni gives the cell phone to a player on the opposing team for the play off title. His team must win at all costs. A witch, her American bull-dog, and a late night shock jock work together to get the phone back to the witch. Instead, a bidding war starts for the cell phone, it seems people will pay fortunes to ruin others or to make love to a Victoria’s Secret model. What people don’t know is without the witch’s stamp of approval the new lovers fall into Snow White-like comas in six days.

The mystery line. When a fast breaking story pops up two weeks before the national championship game it seems everyone involved, willingly or not, is dragged through the eye of public scrutiny and are left ruined or suicidal. Everyone but the person who made the first anonymous call to the Deadspin journalists. One intern who wants to put the honest back into reporting decides to find the one person who locked and loaded the story for the journalists who broke it. The intern wants to examine the tipster’s motivations. The hot story may make her career or end her life.

I hope this helps some people realize that story ideas are everywhere. Once the idea pops out run it through your head as a short movie. Can you write a beginning, middle, and ending? If so, find those characters and get writing. In the end, it’s the details you add that make or break the story. No ideas, read the newspaper and get inspired.

Readers, what are your ideas for spinning the hoax story? Share this with your friends.

 

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