Choose one of the topics, and then brainstorm. Fiction and non-fiction, topical but no evergreens this time.
One hundred years ago next year, on 10 June 1922, Judy Garland was born in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Her real name was Frances Gumm. She died only 47 years later in London.
What can you find out about Judy Garland and her childhood? How did she come to be in movies? Where did she get her stage name from? Which production company was she contracted to? What films did she appear in? Which songs did she sing?
What is your favourite Judy Garland film? Your favourite song? Why? And which are your least favourites? Could you rewrite the film?
If Garland was alive today, the people who apparently ruined her would be up on a charge. Why did they get away with such things in those days? And what might have happened had she been looked after a little better?
When you have found out as much as you can about this tormented artiste, see what you can write to peg onto this anniversary next year. Can you write a story where the main character bumps into Judy Garland? Or does a character base her own life on that of Garland?
Or how about a pharmaceutical piece or something on addiction, comparing then to now and what help is available now that wasn’t in those days?
Two hundred years ago next year, on 9 June 1822, someone called Charles Graham of New York patented porcelain false teeth – or dentures.
What did people do before this invention? Did all of their teeth fall out? Did they have teeth made out of wood? Or did their teeth simply go bad and stay there getting chipped and stained?
How did they even extract teeth in those days? Could this be linked to a trade magazine for dentists? Or could you write a story featuring a dentist?
What is your own experience of the dentist? Do you love them or hate them? And, more importantly, especially in the UK, how do you get one to even see you these days?
What else can you write using ‘invention’ as your starter?
Robert (not Louis) Stevenson
Two hundred and fifty years ago next year, on 8 June 1772, Robert Stevenson was born in Glasgow. He is neither the Robert Louis Stevenson of literary fame and nor did he build a steam locomotive (which is spelt differently in any case).
No, this Robert Stevenson is famous for building lighthouses.
What can you find out about this man and what he did for a living? How was he brought up? And what can you find out about his lighthouses?
In fact, use just that one word as your inspiration: ‘Lighthouse’. See what you come up with.
Over to you…
… and don’t forget to come back and let me know if and what you did, and how it fared.