Finding Inspiration – Radio
One of my favourite things to challenge myself with when I’m struggling for inspiration is to take whatever is right in front of you. Two people talking, the view out of your window, something on the television. My real favourite is the radio, simply because you can double the intensity of the challenge by hitting the ‘search’ button on the radio, making station selection a little unpredictable. Once you’re tuned in, take a note of the first two names you hear and a situation or circumstance being described. It might be complex, it might be a few words – and that is the challenge!
Once you have two names and a basic premise, it’s over to you. Start writing, and if you’re not inspired by the material you have to work with, you will be as you work. For my example effort I had ‘Clara’, ‘John’ and infidelity. Armed with these, off I went in search of inspiration. And the results are below
The first thing that comes on the radio inspires a short story.
I was awoken by a blazing light, my eyes taking time to adjust to the sudden change as the hood was removed from my head. It took every ounce of my remaining strength to force my eyes open as I stared at the floor, straining to bring my surroundings in to focus. I blinked, still bound to a chair. Aware of a presence behind me.
“Clara?”, I spluttered. More in hope than expectation. Nothing. Hearing footsteps, a silhouetted figure moved into my peripheral vision the sun pouring through the window behind.
“They want you dead John,” came an impassive but steadfast response, the figure kicking a battered wooden crate in front of me, he took a seat. A thousand thoughts raced, but panic prevented them making any sense.
“Who? Where’s Clara?” I asked, not sure whether I was more scared by the need to ask nor the answer. Guilt overwhelming me as I tried to figure out whether I was more concerned for her, or myself.
“Clara’s fine John, for now anyway” came the response. Not tremendously heartening. “But she’s the reason we are where we are”.
I knew very well that being involved with Clara was risky. That her family, more specifically her father and brothers, had a reputation for getting their own way. Usually thanks to their sadistic powers of persuasion. But nobody knew, did they? At least they wouldn’t hurt Clara.
We’d been so careful to cover our tracks and not another living soul knew about me and Clara except… Father Daniel. Overwhelmed by the guilt of succumbing to temptation and committing a sin of the flesh, I’d turned to my boyhood confessor. I wasn’t a good Catholic; I was a lapsed alcoholic fornicator of a Catholic. But I didn’t deserve this, did I? My captor lit a cigarette, dragged hard and after what seemed like a long pause, exhaled.“Every action…” he continued between pauses for more
“Every action…” he continued between pauses for more tokes on the cigarette, “…has consequences”. Given my predicament, I saw no point in interjecting. I sat attentively, waiting for the punch line. It hit me more like a train. “You didn’t know Father Daniel and Tony Braden were close?” he continued. I wished Clara’s family had been behind this, at least they’d only kill me. My father in law, however, would have something far worse in store for the man who was unfaithful to his daughter.
Have a go yourself
Switch the radio on and listen for 30 seconds, noting the first two names you hear and a single event upon which to centre the plot. The approach will fit any genre. Let us know how you get on – leave a comment or head for Facebook and Twitter if you prefer, as well as our other social media networks from the links in the menu above.