Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Story Ideas from the Headlines

I've done this before and you can find those posts on this blog but it's been a while so maybe it's time to grab a fresh batch of ideas...

Girl Missing for 10 Years Found, Was Allegedly Held Captive
Updated 2:50 AM ET March 23, 2006

A Pennsylvania woman has been found after being allegedly held captive since 1996, when she disappeared at age 14.

Tanya Kach of McKeesport, Pa., was found this week living in the same city under a different name, local officials told ABC News' Pittsburgh affiliate WTAE.

Kach had last been seen on Feb. 10, 1996.

On Tuesday she was identified as a 24-year-old woman using the name Nicky Evans, WTAE reported.

...She also claimed she had been locked in a bedroom for four years at a man's parents' house -- without their knowledge.

The man who allegedly held Kach has not been arrested or charged. His name has not been released.

LINK TO STORY (This link will expire)

Without making personal judgements about the real people involved, how could you use some of the basic elements of this true-life tale to spin your own story? What kind of characters would populate such a story? Was there ever a real kidnapping or will your story be about a runaway? How would you make your story and characters unique?

Family Rescued After 17 Days Trapped in Snow
Updated 3:04 AM ET March 23, 2006

Rescuers had given up on finding the Striver family after six family members disappeared more than two weeks ago, but they survived 17 days trapped in the snow in an RV and were together, safe and healthy, in their Oregon home Wednesday morning.

The Strivers set off on an overnight trip to the coast on March 4, but became trapped by a snowstorm on a rural backcountry road in southwestern Oregon. Marlo Hill-Striver's mother reported the family missing on March 8, launching a massive multi-county and two-state search.

The Strivers survived on the supplies in their RV and melted snow, and they watched on television while the search for them was finally called off.

LINK TO STORY (this link will expire)

This would make for a great TV-movie drama, wouldn't it? Can you write a scene or anything else from this story?

Woman With Perfect Memory Baffles Scientists
Updated 3:04 AM ET March 23, 2006

James McGaugh is one of the world's leading experts on how the human memory system works. But these days, he admits he's stumped.

McGaugh's journey through an intellectual purgatory began six years ago when a woman now known only as AJ wrote him a letter detailing her astonishing ability to remember with remarkable clarity even trivial events that happened decades ago.

Give her any date, she said, and she could recall the day of the week, usually what the weather was like on that day, personal details of her life at that time, and major news events that occurred on that date.

Like any good scientist, McGaugh was initially skeptical. But not anymore.

"This is real," he says.

THE COMPLETE ARTICLE (link will expire)

The article states that this is a "normally functioning" intelligent human being and not a case of an "idiot savant" with remarkable memory abilities in a narrowly defined subject area. Scientists cannot explain the ability other than to suggest the woman's brain is hard-wired differently than a normal human brain and the distractions a normal brain might throw up in the path of recalling a memory are not present along this woman's memory pathways.

As a writer, if you had a character with this ability, what advantages and what dangers and what plot conflict and complications might this ability bring about?