Here’s another jewel I picked up from Peter H. Reynolds’ workshop last summer: “Story Radar.” This is a term Peter uses for the technique of always being on the alert for ideas and inspiration. An expression, a character, an event, a question, an image – anything can ‘wave’ to you on any given day as an idea for a story, one that can then be filed away in your “Books Not Yet in Print” folder. Peter has incredible story radar. I can’t tell you how many times in class he said, “…And that’s a great idea for a story!” He also said that when the idea comes from someone else, he says (good-naturedly, of course), “I’ll give you one year to run with that idea, and after that it’s mine!”
Here’s a question: can we fine tune, or improve the frequency of, our Story Radar? I think the answer is yes, but it has to do with whether we’ve got ours pointed in the right direction, first of all, as well as how regularly we tune into it, and the degree to which we are able to tune out other, non-useful input. Like any fine instrument, the more one uses it, and the better one cares for it, the more likely it is to hold its tune. Let it sit there and collect dust, or be subject to interference, and it’s unlikely to work as well.
Any other ideas out there about ways to fine-tune our Story Radar?