A Story Idea Each Day for a Month — Day 5

This is the 9th year in a row I’ve run this series in April. Why a story idea each day for the month? Several reasons which I’ll work my through during this series of posts. Here’s another one:

Thinking up new story ideas keeps you on your creative toes.

If a part of your consciousness is attuned at all times to an instinct to look, hear and listen to everything as a possible story idea, you keep your general level of creativity engaged.

It’s the difference between being in your car and letting whatever is on the radio drift in and out of your brain barely processing it versus actively connected to the images and feelings the stimulus evokes.

This is not to say you shouldn’t have some QVT: Quality Veg Time. Sometimes you just need to shut it down. But if you elevate your awareness about generating story ideas, one thing you will discover is how much time you spend doing — essentially — nothing.

Even if you spend just a bit of that time actively engaged in the story-generation process, you enliven your creativity.

Today’s story idea: Woman marries ghost of 300-year-old pirate.

Amanda Teague on the day she legally married her 300 year-old dead pirate’s ghost. Photo / Triangle Media
Meet the woman who has ditched real-life men for a ghost — and legally married her 18th-century spiritual lover.
Amanda Teague says she couldn’t connect with anyone in the physical world, so looked to the afterlife to find her kindred spirit.
Like any normal couple, Amanda and her husband Jack Teague go on dates, have arguments and even have sex — despite the fact he died almost 300 years ago.
And amazingly, Amanda even hired a registrar and journeyed into international waters so she could legally marry him — using a spiritual medium to allow him to say ‘I do’ during the ceremony.

So about that wedding…

There is no provision in UK law for posthumous marriages, so the couple took a boat into international waters in the Atlantic Ocean, off the Irish Coast, for their ceremony.
Marrying a dead person is legal in certain countries such as France, Singapore and China, so by going into waters which aren’t governed by any particular country, Jack and Amanda’s union can be upheld.
Amanda chose a 1700s style dress — similar to the ones from Jack’s time — to wear to the ceremony.
She also held a flag bearing a skull and crossbone as a symbol for her husband.
“I told him I didn’t want him to see the dress before the wedding but if he had a cheeky sneak peak while I was trying it on, I wouldn’t know,” Amanda says.
“I don’t know where he is or when he is around most of the time — it is hard to keep secrets from him.”
Amanda and Jack had a special ceremony to unite them in matrimony. Photo / Triangle Media

And about the… uh… er… sex…

Amanda cannot see her husband physically, but she says this isn’t an issue because she only experiences sexual attraction when she forms a strong emotional bond with someone.
She says: “For me, it is much more about a spiritual and emotional connection than it is about the physical looks and the physical body.”
Amanda says there is no way a person and a spirit can have a baby — but after the wedding she did have a pregnancy scare.
She says: “Shortly after we got married, my periods stopped. I did a couple of pregnancy tests and they came back positive — I was shocked!
“I did not think I had to worry about birth control when having sex with a spirit.
“On further tests it turns out it was the start of the menopause, and sometimes you can get high HPG readings — what a relief that was.”

And what do other people think about this relationship…

Amanda says her family and friends are very accepting of her spiritual relationship and that Jack is treated like part of the family.
He is included in Christmas cards, invited to parties and there is always a place set up for him at the dinner table.

When I ran across this story, the first thing that came to mind was the movie Lars and the Real Girl:

IMDb plot summary: A delusional young man strikes up an unconventional relationship with a doll he finds on the Internet.

Trivia: Lars and the Real Girl is based on a script which made the inaugural annual Black List in 2005, a big reason why the film found the backing it needed to get made.

So one possible story angle is something like Lars, only in this case, the Protagonist — let’s call her Ophelia — is dealing with a lover who nobody can see. Which reminds me of another movie, the 1950 film starring the wonderful Jimmy Stewart — Harvey:

IMDb plot summary: Due to his insistence that he has an invisible six foot-tall rabbit for a best friend, a whimsical middle-aged man is thought by his family to be insane — but he may be wiser than anyone knows.

These couple of antecedents along with The Ghost and Mrs. Muir and Ghos suggest we could go that way: A story in which the Protagonist meets, woos, and marries an invisible ghost. Pirate, Civil War General, Aztec Warrior, William Shakespeare… go nuts and come up with a mate to create a set of Strange Sojourners.

But while we’re here, let’s brainstorm a few more possibilities:

  • How about a horror tale? A ghost appears to our Protagonist, perhaps even visible to her eyes, but not the real world, and seduces Ophelia… and damned if she doesn’t, in fact, get pregnant! It’s Rosemary’s Baby meets Poltergeist.
  • Or supernatural thriller. What if Ophelia’s lover entices Ophelia to attempt ever more dangerous acts with our growing suspicion that the ghost wants Ophelia to die to be with him.
  • Maybe even science fiction. Convinced she’s in love with a ghost, Ophelia comes to realize her lover is actually an alien being, the ghostly persona the real life nature of the creature.

In any of these stories, you get to play around with a central question: What is real… and not real?

There you go: My fifth story idea for the month. And it’s yours. Free!

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4

Each day this month, I invite you to click on RESPONSES and join me to do some further brainstorming. Take each day’s story idea and see what it can become when you play around with it. These are all valuable skills for a writer to develop.

See you in comments. And come back tomorrow for another Story Idea Each Day For A Month.