Creative Writing

Scraps Off the Radio

I was listening to the radio the other day (NPR), and the reporter reported a projected increase in water scarcity in urban areas in America up to the year 2025, I believe. Feverishly, I wrote this down in my Notes app on my iPhone. Why, you ask? Because it’s a darn useful scrap of info, that’s why. I’ll explain.

No matter what you’re writing–YA genres, historical, SF, fantasy, mainstream–it never hurts to draw from bits of current events off the news, off the radio, off news sites, and, if you fancy, in the newspaper or news magazines in print. Social media sites are good too, as they also offer exchange of ideas and commentary on such issues, as well as circulation.

When you draw from what’s going on in the big picture of the world, there’s a treasure trove of inspiration to be had, from ideas on how to shape the world of a novel, to generating ideas for stories, for drawing up a plot point, to creating the smallest detail that was possibly a missing piece of your puzzle. It can bring a bit of color to the incomplete mosaic of an as yet undiscovered country, discovered by you, because you’re the one writing it.

My high school French teacher practically made it a sin for us not to be in tune with current events, and I can still hear her voice to this day. I think she’d be glad to know I was carrying that message forward and impressing that upon another generation of writers in my own pursuit of a writing career. Her objective was to involve us in the workings of our own world, and if you’re going to be emotionally invested in a world of your own making, surely you should start by being so invested in this one?

Give it a whirl. Listen to the radio (you can do it online or in iTunes). Read Yahoo! News headlines even, that’s easy enough. Who knows what bright, glistering jewels and gems of creativity you might unearth amongst all the irrelevancies of an endless mire of celebrity scandals and the like? There are times when the media does report something worth reporting, and whether or not you’re tuned in could make or break your own writing career.


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