Monday, August 3, 2009

What if?

Many novelists began their writing careers as journalists, and it's easy to see how they took the plunge. Newspaper stories are endless fodder for the imagination. Here's an example from today's paper:

Residents at a Briargate home had some unexpected company early today, when a truck with at least four passengers crashed into their house.

Police said the Ford D-150 was traveling east on Briargate Boulevard from Rangewood Drive shortly after 2 a.m. when the driver failed to negotiate the intersection at Conifer Drive.

The truck crashed into the living room of the home, then plowed on through a dining room area before taking out part of a back wall.

Two people inside the home were not injured. Four people in the truck ran from the scene.

Police did not release any names.

Four people ran from the truck? Doesn't that get your imagination in gear? Barring the obvious conclusion that drugs or alcohol were involved, what wild scenarios can you dream up to explain this behavior? Leave us a comment!

Dani Greer is a founding member of this blog and spends much of her time reading good mysteries, then justifies it by writing occasional reviews at her Blog Book Tours blog. A few hours a day, she conjures up her own stories and maybe even writes them down. Here she is dreaming up a good one. If that isn't a "what if" look, I don't what is.

Bookmark and Share


  1. We can safely assume they were bad guys. Maybe the home belonged to one of the bad guys' ex-wives and he was behind on the child support? :)

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  2. Drugs and alcohol would be my guess.

  3. Maybe they aren't necessarily bad guys. What if they are Fae Folk who really shouldn't be driving in the first place? Or just learning to drive. They don't want their real identity discovered so of course they run. I think I could do something with this lol.

  4. Someone was fighting over the radio and they swerved. Hit and run with a car or person is bad enough, but hit and run with a house? They may want to think about assuming new identities.

  5. Mary Higgins Clark loves to talk about the "what if" value to writing.

    I collect news items that have piqued my imagination and when I'm starting a new book, I look through my collection for plot ideas.

    Marilyn a.k.a. F. M. Meredith

  6. Karen, you cheated. That's too obvious. ;) I do the same thing, Marilyn, and on Mary Higgins Clark's prompt as well. I mean, the truth truly is stranger than fiction sometimes.

    Aliens - that's what they are. As soon as they were hauled in for finger-printing, it would be a dead giveaway...


  7. The four runaways were young teens driving W/O a license. They were taking a road trip ala "Thelma and Louise" but none of them knew how to drive.

    I love getting story ideas from newspapers. That's how I got the basic story for "One Small Victory." Also have another project that I started after reading a newspaper article about a house in AK where skeletons of babies were found in the attic of an old house.


The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.