Inspiration Found: The Flotsam And Jetsam Approach

We have a topic for week two that is both awesome in its possibilities and daunting for its possibilities. The Mysterious.
What do you think of when you read the word? Is that first thought story fodder or does it take you out of your comfort zone as a writer?

For the purpose of this post, let’s say you’re on Team Daunting. What do you do?

I’ll tell you what I do. I go a-Googling. Yahoo and Bing work fine too. (Does anyone still Yahoo?) (Oh Man! Remember Stumble Upon? That was a wonderful resource.)

But I digress. I go looking for tickles on the imagination that might shake a story loose. And since the writing world is always preaching show don’t tell, I’d like to challenge you to go try it.

Let’s start with synonyms.
baffling
cryptic
curious
dark
enigmatic
inexplicable
inscrutable
magical
mystical
mystifying
obscure
perplexing
puzzling
secretive
strange
unknown
weird
abstruse
alchemistic
arcane
astrological
cabalistic
covert
difficult
enigmatical
equivocal
esoteric
furtive
hidden
impenetrable
incomprehensible
insoluble
necromantic
occult
oracular
recondite
sphinxlike
spiritual
subjective
symbolic
transcendental
uncanny
unfathomable
unknowable
unnatural
veiled

[whew] That’s a lot.
Read through that list and see if there’s a particular word that really feels good as it rolls over your brain. Then put the word in the query field of the search engine of your choice and click a button. Don’t just look for links to web articles — check images, video, music lyrics. Find the thing that stands out to you and make that your new search point. If you don’t find anything, go back to the list of synonyms and start over. Even if you don’t come up with a story in that moment, the nuggets you drop into your imagination tumbler will bounce around and pop back out when they are gems.

Let’s have some fun with it and drop your results into the comments below. I challenge you all to go farm the internet for inspiration, share it with your fellow flames, and then take a stab at writing a little something about what you find – either in your search or if someone else’s shared nugget inspires you.


Due to a technical problem we had yesterday with either WordPress or Poll Daddy, the poll was not visible for most of yesterday. It finally came back up last night (with no change to the votes already cast) so we’ve extended the voting deadline by a day. Go read what your fellows wrote in Darkness and vote for your favorite.

Sunday is the deadline for submitting a story on The Mysterious. #gowrite.

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About t.s.wright

Writer, reader, casual photographer, nature-lover, dog mom. I grew up in a tree, inside a book, whispering possible futures into discarded seed pods that curled up and exploded each summer. One day, they cut down my tree and I was forced to go to school while waiting for the replacement trees to grow strong enough to hold me. But while we waited, I grew too heavy and awkward to climb, so I had to get a job. I spent my days surrounded by flimsy walls covered in carpet that made boxes and people who forgot to look out windows. I worked really hard. Possibilities were replaced with formulas and exactitude. Eventually I forgot how to climb a tree...and how to smile. Then one day, a dog licked my foot excessively and I remembered smiling. That reminded me of more things that didn't cost money and couldn't be tallied in a spreadsheet - like hugs and love and being happy. So I found myself a Steve who reminded me what home was. Then we filled it and our hearts with dogs. Eventually we planted our own tree, together. Even though I'm happy right here, right now, I remembered that we all need possibilities to dream of, so I've started writing them down.
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2 Responses to Inspiration Found: The Flotsam And Jetsam Approach

  1. Pingback: Stone of the Philosopher (fragment 1) | Elusive Trope

  2. Pingback: Stone of the Philosopher (fragment 2) | Elusive Trope

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