by Lisa Jordan
Imagination is more important than knowledge.
For while knowledge defines all we currently know and understand,
imagination points to all we might yet discover and create.
A writer's imagination can be a scary place. Good thing only God can read my thoughts.
I took out the trash late one evening. Shrouded in darkness, shadows loomed in my backyard--the patio furniture and playhouse suddenly becoming sanctuaries for new shapes and lifeforms. Of course, my imagination ran wild. I stared into the blackness for about thirty seconds before rushing inside and locking the door.
Then my imagination shifted into overdrive.
What if a woman went about her daily routine, took the trash outside, and disappeared while her family watched TV inside the house?
I'm not a suspense writer and hate to be spooked, but I figured that one question could ripple into many different directions. When would her family notice she was missing? What happened to the woman? Did she leave on her own accord? Was she forced to flee? Did someone take her? If so, who? Why? What clues would be left behind? How would they begin to search for her?
My imagination went rampant another time while cleaning a mess in the kitchen that involved my Little Darlings and frosting. What if someone tampered with bakery goods and a classroom of children were poisoned? Who would do such a vile thing? What would motivate this person to act this way?
My son recently finished a series by a well-known Christian suspense writer. He was blown away by some of the things in the book and commented to me, "Man, these writers must be pretty messed up to come up with some of this stuff."
I laughed and disagreed with him because I know how a writer's imagination works. One of my favorite writers told of strange looks received while on an airplane--she and her crit partner plotted how to kill someone. She quickly reassured those who overheard that she was a novelist. This woman is one of the sweetest people I've ever met. Not a murderous bone in her body. Her imagination, on the other hand...
So take those musings and twist them into what if story questions. You may be surprised by a new story idea.
Your Turn: What basic musing or real life situation sparked a new story idea? How has your imagination run rampent in the past? Have your own thoughts ever scared you into locking the doors?