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What To Write–A Question Of Angle

As some readers know, I write for children, adults, and those that read articles from Associated Content and others. And I write on a variety of subjects. The problem I have today centers on what I should write for an article for tomorrow’s Associated Content piece.

Occasionally someone will ask me, “Where do you get your ideas?” Writers have been hearing that question since the art began. The answer is probably the same now as it was 400+ years ago. I look around and there it is, all around me in the people, nature, conversations, etc.

Now, though, a new media has taken over much of the literary field in the form of the internet. There is more information at a person’s fingertips–most of it for free–than most reference librarians ever get to see in physical form. It’s truly amazing.

I can’t answer for any other writer as to where an article idea comes from. I get many of mine from reading the science pieces that come up on Yahoo News and then track back sources to the journals that spawned the original work. I like going to the source.

To that end I went to Yahoo News and just took a perusal through those pages I’ve come to think of as mine. I’ll give you a blow-by-blow rundown of what a piece is about and how I might use it.

1. Poll taken on users of cable TV and whether they would switch to online viewing to reduce costs–Results: Majority would think about it but only 15% would actually seriously consider it enough for a trial run. Older people hang on to traditional TV longer and more aggressively than young people.

My take: Older people may not understand online viewing as easily as young people who grew up with the media. Also, young people tend toward more adventurous behavior than their parents and grandparents. They aren’t as hooked on their favorite networks.

Possible articles: a.) Traditional TV viewers may distrust online viewing. Do they also distrust online information over traditional TV, newspapers, magazines? b.) Young TV viewers take more risks with media than older viewers. Yes/No? c.) Will today’s teens use online info for making decisions above alternative sources? This is good for an unscientific survey of local high schools. Easy, quick, and gives answers about that area’s youth.

2. Kansas City HS students build electric car that gets 400+mpg.

a.) This is good for career piece. b.) A piece on special programs to teach diversity of thought in HS. c.) A piece on developing independent problem- solving skills during HS that can be used later in life. d.) A piece on career development during HS rather than waiting for college.

3. Hawaiian coral reefs being studied for bleaching, which occurs when coral releases the algae living inside it and then turns white. If prolonged, coral will die. Situation already running through reefs in Southeast Asia and parts of the Caribbean, as well as the Great Barrier Reef. This occurs when water gets too warm.

a.) What does this presage for the future of the seas? b.) Will continued destruction of the reefs also endanger the larger oceanic life forms? c.) Does this also correspond with the jellyfish population growing out of control world wide?

4. The “carbon market” on the International Stock Exchange. The UN set to take charge of overseeing this multi-billion dollar enterprise.

a.) How many actually knew that this “Stock” was out there and have been trading in it? b.) What is it really? c.) Why do the US and European experts consider it a scam on investors and want it shut down?

5. Astronauts come back to Earth as weak as 80 yr. olds after 6 months in space.

a.) How does that effect the Space Program in general and in particular since a Mars projects is still on the books? b.) Will cryogenics be studied as a possible real use? c.) Will astronauts be as much athlete as scientist inside any new program developed to side-step this side effect of space living?

6. Mind controlling parasites date back millions of years and may be responsible for a humans’ being prone to neuroticism. Half of life on Earth is parasitic.

a.) Will the APA ever believe this one and how hard will they fight such a supposition? b.) How often does parasitic invasion end in mind control and how many cases happen in humans? c.) What is the criteria for the classification of a parasite? d.) Do humans fall into the category and why/why not?

7. And last but certainly not least–The world’s first seed bank is being threatened by developers.

Do I really need to go here? Isn’t it obvious what could be questioned and written from this story?

These examples of potential story/article ideas came from today’s science news. There was nothing out of the ordinary about the news feeds or the writers involved. All of these items have the potential for becoming the core for a short story/novel/article/essay on hundreds of websites, ezines, and print media as well.

Looking at all that, what will I turn my mind to for a new article? I could take the one about the coral, tie it to other research I already have on dying reefs and the condition of the ocean today. Then later, I could do a book for young readers on the subject. I could also develop a book for YA readers and adults on the situation in the future speculation arena as creative non-fiction.

I could do one on the HS kids in KC who have invested in their own futures by designing and building their electric car that have automakers, and a lot of other people, taking notice. I could ask a simple question about why innovative teaching practices, which cost no more than traditional ones, aren’t being developed in school across this country. This is especially relevant in times of shrinking education dollars and school closings.

I’ll think on the question for a bit and come up with something timely and pertinent to today and write it first thing in the morning for submission. I have some long-term ideas to explore with some of this material, too.

I could write a science fiction thriller about a mind-controlling parasite that invades a future space station where the weakened condition exhibited by the long-time residents wreaks havoc to the point where the fragile hydroponics section is endangered and there’s little in the way of back-up from Earth since they lost the majority of their seed banks to developers. Believe it or not, that scenario could work.

But thoughts of book manuscripts will have to wait for another day. I have enough to consider now.

I want to thank those who came along for the journey of see it, read it, think it over, find a new article/story, and get ready to write. For other writers stopping by, feel free to think about some these examples of reality for your own cache of goodies. After all, writers know that it’s all in the angle.

Take care, all, and God bless.

A bientot,

Claudsy

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