In 2010, filmmaker George Clarke discovered an anomaly in Charlie Chaplin's 1928 film The Circus. Something seemed strikingly out of place in the '20s milieu: a woman passerby appeared to be talking on a cell phone.
Whether or not this mysterious character was actually adjusting a General Electric hearing aid is not as interesting to me as the possibility that she was a time traveler somehow getting a signal from the Sprint network. And I'm not alone. A legend was born of "Charlie Chaplin's time traveler."
I defy anyone with a creative imagination to look at this snippet of Chaplin's footage and not come away bursting with story ideas, simply because something is so out of place.
When putting their stories together, writers take such pains to make sure everything fits. But imagining something that doesn't fit just may be a key to unlocking a treasure trove of creative ideas!
Consider these odd items:
A golden ticket inside an ordinary candy bar.
A curious gathering of long-robed individuals on a city street.
A message written on a spiderweb.
A rabbit with a pocket watch.
Add to them ...
A woman talking on a cell phone on a street in Hollywood, California in 1928.
I would definitely want to read that story, if not write it!
—posted by Timothy Power