Where do you get your short story and novel ideas? No matter your chosen genre, you might look to authentic life for subject matter…and where better to find real life than in the newspaper? There, you’ll find the best, and most often the worst, of this pack we call humanity. When I have the occasion to generate a short story (the bills aren’t stopping, and therefore neither is my ghostwriting), I like to consult local and national newspapers for help with sparking story ideas. Today, I stumbled across some funny headlines and couldn’t help searching for some of their twisted cousins. Here are my favorites:
One-armed man applauds the kindness of strangers
Caskets found as workers demolish mausoleum
Alton attorney accidentally sues himself
Condom truck tips, spills load
Man eats underwear to beat breathalyzer
Sewage spill kills fish, but water safe to drink
Panda mating fails; veterinarian takes over
Marijuana issue sent to joint committee
Students cook & serve grandparents
Hippo eats dwarf
Lost: African elephant
Topeka cemetery clean-up in need of volunteers: A light lunch to follow provided by Waste Management of Kansas
Tight end returns after colon surgery
Miracle cure kills fifth patient
All you need to know about Obama’s package
A-Rod goes deep, Wang hurt
Hooker named lay person of the year
Blind man denied Minn. gun permit
Statistics show that teen pregnancy drops off significantly after age 25
Deeper probing took me to the police blotters:
A deputy responds to a report of a vehicle stopping at mail boxes. It was the mailman.
Wal-Mart: Police receive a report of a newborn infant found in a trash can. Upon investigation, officers discover it was only a burrito.
The Learning Center on Hanson Street reports a man across the way stands at his window for hours watching the center, making parents nervous. Police ID the subject as a cardboard cutout of Arnold Schwarzenegger.
And I have to give proper credit to the classifieds:
Human skull, used once only. Not plastic. $200 OBO
Full size mattress, Royal Tonic, 20 year warranty. Like new. Slight urine smell. $40
Potty chair, solid oak, light brown stain
Quick — grab a pen. By the time your diaphragm stops cramping, you’ll have come up with a storyline involving a Hannibal-Lecter-wanna-be mailman who delivers special-recipe burritos, or a veterinarian who learns to embrace both the yin and the yang. Come on — if you write it, I’ll read it.
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