What happens when a journalist starts writing fiction? Pure weirdness. At least, that’s my excuse for a lot of the stuff I write in my spare time. I have this habit of skimming the daily news headlines online every morning for ideas for my day job, and somewhere along the way, I always stop reading the newsy news and start reading the News of the Weird.
You know, Huffpost’s Weird News section. Reuters has that Weird News/Odd News section too. USAToday's Offbeat News. On and on. Gosh, there are so many.
I love that stuff. In my more fanciful moments I like to think of myself as a Chloe Sullivan-Carl Kolchak-Fox Mulder hybrid (kudos to any of you who understand ALL of those references). You might laugh, but those oddball stories in the news can be a goldmine for paranormal/science fiction/fantasy writers. I mean, you can’t make this stuff up. Well, you can, but.
I have this little document on my computer that I call the Wall of Weird (yes, another Chloe reference). I snag headlines and stories that spark a fictional idea and save it for future reference. Lord only knows what the person who inherits my computer will think when I die. Geez, she was even stranger than I thought. Weirdo.
Here’s some examples from recent news:
ON DEADLINE: Goats wow Calif. beachgoers with their surfing skills
Yes, in my story, those goats are genetic experiments a la Teenage Mutant Pirate Goats. I want to name them Monet, Renoir, Sisley and Degas.
Olympics UFO Was Definitely Our Blimp: Goodyear
Ha! A likely government-induced story! We all know it was the aliens scoping out our most athletic specimens for an abduction selection. Or perhaps they were searching for a renegade prince from the planet Hoticy who has fallen in love with a beautiful earthling and doesn't want to return.
Brooklyn Bridge 'Monster' May Be Distant Relative Of Long Island Montauk 'Monster'
Any cryptozoologist worth his salt knows this is really Nessie’s cousin, washed ashore in New York after journeying from Loch Ness to warn us. And there are more coming. Massive invasion of evil sea monsters headed for the U.S., and only one man and one woman can stop them, but first they must fall in love...
I could go on and on with more examples, but I’ll stop. I’m starting to scare myself.
What are some of your favorite “weird” headlines? Share them in the comments below. I'm sure we could all use a good laugh. For a day, the comments section can be our own lil Wall of Weird.