by Addy Farmer
Did you know that January used to be known as the Wolf month? Well, that's what the Anglo Saxons knew it as - when food was so scarce that the wolves dared to enter the villages. There's still something of the wolf about January...
|How'll I find those ideas??|
Now, January is a time of non-wolf voluntary dieting. It's when garden life seems to hibernate (usually) and the shops are like old news and Christmas sparkle is packed away. But January is also fresh-faced and full of promise; maybe you wrote an entire novel in November with NaNoWriMo? Maybe you packed in some story-making during the Christmas holiday? Now in the month of the brand new year you have sent your precious babe out into the woods in the hope that she is picked up by someone who will love her to bits. Even if you are not waiting and waiting, sometimes January can be a curiously creatively empty month. So it's best to crack on and fill it with ideas because you never know - one of them might become a proper real story.
“What are you?" I whispered.
He shrugged again.
"Something," he said. "Something like you, something like a beast, something like a bird, something like an angel." He laughed. "Something like that.”
David Almond - Skellig
So what to do? I write them down on a scrap of paper which I lose. Or pop an idea into a notebook in close type and think that it's the most marvellous idea EVER and then never go back to it. Or keep it in a box ready for Doomsday and forget where the box is. Useless? No, not at all because somewhere, something happens and my brain sifts and sorts so that far from being a palace it becomes more of a compost bin and every so often something germinates.
|Food for thought|
Soooooo, ideas and where to always be able to find them.
This is a great source of fun and inspiration. How about The Henn-na Hotel, which translates to "strange hotel," and is staffed almost entirely by robots. Or some very important research which answers the question, 'Where should Americans retreat in the event of a zombie apocalypse?' The answer to this and more science stuff can be found in Live Science.
Old inventionsWith their tortuous methods and construction old inventions make my heart skip a beat. In fact, I like then so much that I based an entire character around them with my Wilf's World Blog. Wilf loved inventions (as should we all) like the fantastically named Tempest Prognosticator or the more ordinarily named lawnmower and its inventor, Edward Bear Budding. A lot of these Victorian inventors also had brilliant names like Sir Godlsworth Gurney who invented giant machines for heating large spaces like cathedrals and who nearly blew up the Houses of Parliament.
|The Tempest Prognosticator - early weather machine|
News stories for new stories.There is so much weirdness out there (or maybe I'm just very tame) and it's interesting to be an onlooker
You Can Now Pay To Have Someone Call Your Friend As A Turtle
The Huffington Post is a repository of odd stories. Who wouldn't want to have a call from a turtle and mistake it for a real turtle who has gained astonishing super-powers and sends your hero off on a trail of the mad scientist who has captured this innocent creature and seeks to exploit it ...
Fly-tipper sought to blame imaginary twin brother for his crimesBrunch news reports a fly-tipper who blamed an imaginary identical twin for illegally disposing of car tyres. Yep, there's a story right there ...
|Blame the other one|
And inevitably, there is Buzzfeed for the best cat stories and other strange-but-trueness
This Cat Making Biscuits On Himself Is The Most Magical Thing Ever
There are some images that I've taken or seen which stick in my head. I keep everything on Flickr.
|Honey and Izzy fall out about who is trundling through the bendy tube first|
|Stuck in the mud|
|Wheel on fire|
|Ruin in the woods|
|Tell me a story|
Books by the side of the bed.Along with my to-read pile, there is also a permanent stack of books which I go for ideas.
|Fantastic book for spooky/funny/ridiculous stories|
|Magic is real ...|
|dipping in to find stories behind stories|
There is so much more, so many places you can go, places you can see, people you can meet, astonishing stories to uncover. They won't all stick but they'll be one or two that do and what fun there is in the finding. Finally and perhaps most importantly ...