You’ve been asked the question, “What are you reading right now?” and you explain that it’s this great story about a young alien prince with super vision who’s vacationing on the moon and out of everyone on earth, he spots one girl that he falls instantly in love with, despite the vast distance that separates them. The inquirer’s eyebrows narrow and a look of confusion overtakes his face. You want to defend the heart warming story that you can’t put down until 2a.m .every night but instead you tell him, “You’ll just have to read it to understand.”
Some of the most inspired and successful novels sound absurd when we try to explain the plot: a vampire falls helplessly for a girl whom he’s just met, a man meets God in the form of a large black woman in a shack where his daughter was murdered, children from the districts are forced yearly to fight to the death for the enjoyment of the colorfully painted and ridiculously dressed, members of the capital. WHERE does the inspiration for these stories come from? Would it be too cliche-ish to say, from all around us? It’s true.
This sort of inspiration takes a wild imagination and two little words: WHAT IF. What if my husband was a real zombie? What if I fell into a black hole? What if my body could create its own food through chemical processes like a plant? Many times the ‘what if’s’ are inspired by real world events. For example, weeks ago, Red Bull sponsored a deadly stunt, a free fall from the stratosphere in an attempt to break the sound barrier with a falling human. They sent some dude into space in a little steel pod lifted by a gynormous helium balloon and he jumped….he STINKIN’ jumped!
This is where the opportunity arises for your imagination to go wild. What if. What if traveling at mach-3 somehow rearranged this guy’s atomic structure giving him the super human ability to travel at the speed of sound? What if, while in the stratosphere, he witnessed something, something that shouldn’t be there, a government secret he shouldn’t have seen. It’s the “what ifs” that inspire sensational stories.
Practice what-ifing today and see what you come up with. If anything, it’s entertaining!
My next blog will be about some moving stories that might inspire you to ask some what-if questions of your own.