I’ve had a rought day, writing-wise.

“So just take the night off.”

Done that too many times this weekend.

Picked up the phone. Called a friend.

Me: I’m going to ask you a question.

Friend: Okay.

Me: You’re going to go sit and read something tonight, for fun. What kind of story do you want to read?

Friend: A good ghost story.

[NARRATOR: John loves ghost stories. But it’s difficult to come up with a good twist. Too many choices are as bad as not enough.]

Me: Give me something else, the kind of story, or the genre, or a word.

Friend: I’ve been seeing a lot of Giallo.

[NARRATOR: The call ended here.]

Any ghosts down here? Helloooo?

We have to get out of our head for inspiration, but we direct the search. Calling in fresh troops adds an element of surprise.

I would’ve made myself write about whatever genre my friend picked, even if it was a musical. I do not like musicals. I would not write one, even if she told me to, so I just lied. But you can’t write a short story musical. That’s just not done.


So, if you’re stuck, call someone. Don’t give them time to prep. Just use their mind. Ask, “What kind of character do you want to read about?” or “What’s your favorite song right now?” or “What’s your favorite memory from high school?”

Just tap their mind LIGHTLY, then get to work. Don’t turn it into a social call. Just get them on the line, ask one or two questions, and dive in.

The hell am I gonna do with “ghost Giallo”?