When people learn I'm a writer, one of the first questions they're bound to ask is, "Where do you get your ideas?" I smile coyly, replying, "From the idea store on 45th and Main Street." The truth is, my mind is usually racing with more ideas than I can develop into stories. But I have friends who are also writers and many complain of writer's block. One technique I've offered them is to find an unusual or inspirational piece of artwork -- it can be a drawing, photograph, or painting -- and create a story behind the image. I've done this many times with writing groups I've led and even the most stymied wordsmith among them has emerged with a short story they have been justifiably proud of.
You can find inspirational artwork in magazines or through an image search on Google. I prefer surreal scenes, but any image will do. My audio post a while back, "The Library of Trees", was inspired by an image I stumbled across on the Web. Below is another flash fiction piece I wrote, using the image below for inspiration. If you're an aspiring writer, try this technique yourself.
The Lady Or The Tiger
He really meant it this time. Colt Taylor knew Pamela had grown tired of the broken promises. She didn’t understand how hard it was for him to turn his back on his racing. It had been his passion from the time he built his first go-kart. Twenty years later, the thrill of reaching greater and greater velocities in top sports cars was a singular passion that he could never share with his girlfriend.
Pamela only saw the danger. Sure, fiery crashes happened, but that was part of the thrill. To risk death, only to walk away unscathed to face it another day, was part of the attraction. She just didn’t understand. But he had promised her the Monte Carlo Grand Prix would be his last race. And he meant it. Until the telegram arrived inviting them to spend the weekend in Greece.
Artemis Stravokanis, a Greek tycoon with his own island, was sponsoring the world’s most exclusive auto race. Colt’s reputation had preceded him – Stravokanis had singled him out to drive the Tiger X10 – the one-of-a-kind racecar that only an enthusiast with unlimited funds like Artemis Stravokanis could conceive, let alone construct. Any driver would give his eye teeth for a few minutes behind its wheel. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Pamela had to understand.
But Colt knew how much Pamela hated his racing; how she feared for his safety each time he got behind the wheel. It was the sole point of contention in what otherwise had been the perfect relationship Colt had searched for his entire life. He recalled her threat to leave him forever unless he abandoned racing. She waited for him on the shore of the tropical paradise that was the Stravokanis estate; poised on a tree limb, her nude form bathing in the moonlight. He gazed and the sleek curves of her body, and then at the sleek lines of the Tiger X10. He knew he could only choose one.
©2011 Keith B. Darrell
©2011 Keith B. Darrell