Friday, November 2, 2012

Looking For Stories

Willie Wildcat leads the K-State team onto the field

This is the story I'm following. The rise of the Kansas State University football team. Prior to the first game of 2012, the Wildcats were picked to win sixth place in our conference of 10 teams. Not so hot! But this team believed in their coach, they believed in each other, they worked their tails off in practice and played like winners during every game. Result? At this point--8 games played, 4 to go--they have a perfect record. They are #1 in the Big 12 conference, #2 in the nation in the BCS poll, and #3 in the country according to the other national college football polls. All the parts are there for a terrific novel or movie. And where is this happening? Right here in little old Manhattan, Kansas, a town of 50,000+ located in the heartland of America. Excitement reigns supreme all over our community. Can they finish with a perfect record? What bowl game will they play in? Will our quarterback win the Heisman? Questions yet to be answered. Coach Snyder has always approached this team with the idea that they are a family, and right now, our town appears to be a whole family. Even if the Cats don't finish with a perfect record, we're still family and will still support them to the fullest.

That's the story playing out in my life at the moment. Now how about you? Look around you. There are stories everywhere. What's yours? What's a story in your community? Doesn't matter if it's about something terrific or something tragic. There's a story everywhere you look. You only need to study the world around you carefully. Think of the people who are survivors of Hurricane Sandy. What a vast number of stories yet to be told, and make no mistake, those stories will be passed down through the generations, related at Thanksgiving dinner tables for years to come.

What about those suffering through drought situations getting eerily similar to the Dust Bowl Days of the 30's? Lots of stories there. Just a few months ago, we had myriad stories of those participating in the Summer Olympics. Wonderful stories of the athletes, their coaches, their families and the communities they lived in. Add the stories of the military families all over our country.

All you need do is scan your personal horizons. Find a story and write it as nonfiction or use it as a base for a fiction story. Sometimes writers claim they just cannot think of an idea for a new story. Happens all the time, often while they're in the midst of tripping over a great story right in front of them. Train yourself to have writer eyes so you recognize a real story.

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