Buried in newspapers (online, of course), news magazines, advice columns, and every other account of real-life people and situations is a motherlode of story ideas. Here are a few I’ve been hoarding that gave my internal story manufacturing machine a jolt.
Story Generator #1
“In 2001, following the accounting scandals at Enron and other companies, a publication called CFO Magazine quietly abandoned its annual Excellence Awards, because winners from each of the previous three years had gone to prison.”
Story Idea: Final meeting of the CFO Excellence Awards committee, harassed by pleas NOT to receive the award, nicknamed “Kiss of Death.”
Source: Evan Osnos article about white-collar crime, The New Yorker last August.
Story Generator #2
In response to employee work-at-home demands, designers envision a virtual representation of an entire office showing who is “at work,” wherever they are. It “tracks key team members and contacts based on (meeting room) reservation systems to ensure they are ‘showing face’ even when absent from their desk.” [sic]
Story Idea: The flowering of system gaming strategies; or, the Return of Big Brother.
Source: The Perkins Eastman Design Strategy Team “dream office” article in Metropolis, Sept/Oct 2021.
Story Generator #3
An obituary describing the deceased’s high school baseball career at length, naming team members, and recoungting highlights from notable games. Family gets a mention; career a sentence. Deceased is 76.Story Idea: If an eighteen-year-old knew that, 60 years later, tonight’s game would be the high point of his life, what would he do?