Need ideas for your fiction? Check your email. Awhile ago I wrote about how visiting the zoo lets you observe an amazing diversity of people—who could help round out your novel’s cast. This morning I realized ideas for scenes come free to my in-box.
My wife (a hardcore couponer) and I reserve one account for commercial updates. While she sees it as a source for bargains, it’s also a potential treasure trove for writers wanting to think outside the box of their own experience.
Yesterday came an offer for a Beef Wellington dinner at an expensive, exclusive restaurant. With a few clicks I toured the restaurant, learned about its options for wedding receptions, scanned the menu, and visited the romantic dining room. A few clicks to its reviews on Tripadvisor.com offered insights into what people experience there—including one encounter with a bartender having a bad day. Lots of ideas—all free.
This morning three back-to-back email offers grabbed my attention.
● The first, from livingsocial.com, advertised “couples’ massage + foot soak + champagne.” Down the page I found opportunities for a day of paintball for two, tattoo removal, and “Nia fitness” classes.
Not my usual activities, so I’d need help just to think of them, let alone describe them with realism.
● Second was a deal for yoga classes and ionic foot baths. Ionic? I thought that was a kind of Greek column.
Scanning down the screen I learned about a barbecue cooking class for two, followed by an introductory pistol course (also available for a girls’ night out) followed by whiskey and cigars at a steak house. (The girls’ night out option substitutes red or white wine and light appetizers for the whiskey and cigars.)
● Third came a deal for a 90-minute light plane flight experience that includes on-the-ground instruction in a flight simulator, followed by a “45-minute flight with you at the controls.”
Not suitable for your novel? Other choices included an eight-hour fly fishing trip for two, a golf lesson with swing evaluation, and ten one-hour Irish dance classes.
Whether you need ideas or a source for details, the answers are just a few clicks away.