Hey everyone, welcome to Writer Resources 5: The World & Its Stories. This post is going to be a little different than the previous four, in that I’m not suggesting any one website or book, but rather encouraging writers to take from the world we live in. It’s a vast planet, with hundreds of cultures and religions; a nearly endless wellspring of inspiration to draw from.
I often go months without an idea for a short story, and sometimes it’s simply because I’m so invested in edits for a novel that I’m not thinking about story possibilities. But several months ago, probably back in February or March, I saw the preview to a movie called The Forest. It was a bit creepy, so I decided to look up the plot on Wikipedia. Just for fun. Doing so introduced me to one of the most famous locations in Japan: Aokigahara Forest, located at the base of the Mount Fuji; perhaps better known as Suicide Forest.
Aokigahara is the second most popular place to commit suicide in the world. The authorities canvas the forest not to stop people from committing suicide, but rather to collect the bodies. Grim, right? The forest is dense, nearly soundproof, and the trees are unnaturally gnarled. As stories go, the forest is home to spirits known as the Yurei, ghosts, as well as demons.
There’s much more to Aokigahara than I can type, but you can see why the location and its lore might be attractive to writers. It’s a location that has stuck with me for months, one that I will most likely fictionalize and center my next story around.
I invite you, encourage you, to do research; to go on a walk, to experience the world and use that experience to fuel your stories.