I have something exciting to reveal on Wednesday. If you are a regular reader of my blog you will probably want to check back later in the week and find out what. It will be really cool – I promise.
Now that you’ve been tempted, let’s get on with the Writing Prod for the week. The prompt I’ll be working with today tends to work best with serious stories. I call it . . . Headlines. Grab a newspaper and look over the headings for all the big news items. Find one that stands out to you. Then come up with the story behind the story. The one that no one knows about – Yet.
Because news writers try to be clever with their headlines when they can, the result can be quite wacky if taken literally. This is good if you want to write a piece of fiction that is more on the comedic side.
Headlines can also be taken from popular magazines. This is helpful if you want a story for a specific market. A story taken from the news items in People magazine is going to be radically different than one culled from the pages of Boy’s Life. And if no newspapers or magazines are available you can always tune in to one of the news stations on television and watch for the headlines there.
For my example, I grabbed yesterday’s edition of the local newspaper and spotted this headline: “City schools combating drug use among students.” I decided on a story that took a conspiratorial look at the War on Drugs.
Jackie, the head writer for the high school newspaper, was thrilled when she heard that the city council had declared their very own “War on Drugs.” Washington High was infested with everything from pot to the latest designer drugs and all of them impacted the quality of education the students were receiving. But then within the space of a week her best friend, Joshua, is identified as a major Meth dealer on campus and then dies in a freak accident. The only problem is that Jackie knows Joshua too well. There is no way that he was taking drugs, much less dealing them. Just as she cinches up her reporter instincts to find out the truth she receives a mysterious message in her locker. “Collateral damage happens. Make sure you stay clear of the combat zone.”