Fact is Stranger than Fiction

Finding inspiration for stories can sometimes feel like looking for a needle in a haystack, while banging your head against a brick wall. The inspiration for my WIP was a BBC Horizon documentary about a man who woke up with no memory. That story stayed with me and fascinated me, until one day it trickled out of my pen and onto the page (still trickling).

‘Where do you get your ideas?’ is probably the number one question authors get asked. The answer is, stories are all around us, to misquote Wet Wet Wet. You just need to see the world with a writer’s eyes. Looking at different cultures is a great source of inspiration. For instance, the Moken are sea-based nomads, otherwise known as sea-gypsies. But that’s not all – because they spend so much time on or in the water, they have developed the ability to see underwater with perfect clarity. Normally, underwater vision is blurred.

I read that Neil Gaiman once picked up a book on burial rites around the world, which inspired some of his Sandman comics. He discovered that in Tibet, because there is no soil to bury people, they leave bodies on the mountainside to be eaten by birds of prey and they call it a ‘sky burial’. Yesterday, I discovered the story of a boy in China, born with blue eyes, who can apparently see in the dark. They claim he has reflective eyes like a cat. And websites like the Fortean Times are full of strange tales and urban myths that can inspire writers because fact is stranger than fiction.

Your writing prompt: Write a story about sea gypsies (real or imagined) and a boy or girl born with eyes like a cat. How does society treat them? Are they feared or adored?

sea gypsy

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2 thoughts on “Fact is Stranger than Fiction

  1. Chella – did you hear ‘Midweek’ Libby Purvis BBC radio 4 on 11th. Interview with David Stuart MacLean and his true story “The Answer to the Riddle is Me”. He woke up on an Indian rail station with no memory.
    Chip

    Liked by 1 person

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