Last weekend, a friend of mine was at Ikea with her four children. Two of them were in the stroller and one was misbehaving. My friend turn around for a second to handle the child and the stroller rolled away, down the cement stairs. Her four-year old son suffered a skull fracture and her daughter mashed her face and broke her foot.
This is a classic what if story. What if the two-year old hadn’t been acting out? What if my friend had engaged the brakes on the stroller? What if the daughter, who was older, put her feet down and stopped the stroller? What if this happened on the first floor instead of the second? The list could go on and on.
As awful as this is in real life, it is fabulous to have a what if problem as a writer. Sometimes, I hear about a situation and usually the next thought is what if…. With enough of these what if’s and I suddenly have a storyline to expound upon. That’s what happened with my current WIP and the story that is brewing in the back of my head. And I’ve heard it happens to other writers too. Steven King talks about it in his book on writing and I just read a thrilling book called Catch Me by Lisa Gardner where the premise is what if? I couldn’t put it down and found myself reading until way too late. So as bad as it is in real life, I found what if to be an excellent tool for a writer.