I use Feedly and Evernote to help me comb through the numerous blogs and news sites I visit each week, and I’m always finding story worthy stuff (that exists outside of important world events and pop culture) that I may or may not use in the future.  In fact, I often find so many interesting articles that they get lost in the shuffle and forgotten about until much later.Grist Logo

So to help alleviate my informational overload (at the expense of exacerbating yours) I present to you Grist for the Muse. This new weekly feature shares some of the interesting articles, facts, essays, photos and videos I discover that may provide a a much needed spark for your writing.  These links along with some of my suggestions on how to use these links are designed to get you thinking and, hopefully, writing.

Here is this week’s Grist for the Muse for Tuesday, August 6th, 2013:

A 20 year-old college student who raises cockroaches to pay for college —  This link, complete with a video of Kyle Kandilian and some of his pets, features a Q&A with him about his unusual hobby.

People with unusual hobbies or obsessions always make interesting characters. Questions such as how did you start collecting [fill in the blank here] or what drew you to this in particular are exploration worthy questions for both fiction and non-fiction writing projects alike.

Teenage Exorcists – Who Hunt Sexually Transmitted Demons —  This has everything, teenage virgin exorcists, an ambitious minister who happens to be the father of one of the exorcists, sex, religion and controversy.

What’s not to love here? Interesting characters to study, good character motivation to explore, and just enough of the weird factor to keep the pen moving.

How did Monogamy Evolve? — ” From an evolutionary standpoint, monogamy doesn’t seem to make much sense – especially for males. And yet, it’s practiced by a significant number of mammalian species, including humans…”  Interesting study and question to explore.

Write a story where a character is struggling to be in a monogamous relationship, or where a character who thinks he/she was in a monogamous relationship has been cheated on.Hero 1000 Faces

Saturday Morning Version of “The Hero’s Journey” — Need a quick primer on character development and story structure? This is a good article and funny video explaining part of Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey from The Hero With A Thousand Faces.

Nothing screams good storytelling like sock puppets with gravelly DeNiro voices.

Abandoned Roller-Coaster — Everything eventually gets abandoned. Whether it is a 36-piece Toy Story 2 jigsaw puzzle with missing pieces, a stuffed turtle that you have outgrown and donate to a church rummage sale, a bank repossessed house after a bankruptcy, or an amusement park that goes under for some reason, everything gets abandoned. This tumblr blog features photos of abandoned places.

Abandoned places all have stories to tell. What is one for this roller-coaster?

Could We Move the Sun? — A ridiculous notion if you think about it. How would you go about such a massive feat of engineering? Impossible, right? Things that seemed impossible 200 years ago, even difficult to imagine, are commonplace now.

What knowledge and experience will we be able to apply to our problems during the next 50 to 100 years? Which ones will we manage to solve? Could the average person living in 1913 believe that we would harness nuclear energy, land a man on the moon, eradicate illnesses such as polio, smallpox and [insert other illness here]? What about a hand-held device that allowed you to read any book, watch any film or listen to any music at the touch of a button? What impossible things might be possible by 2113?



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