From the cartloads of letters and emails I receive (in fact the postman blames me entirely for his recent hernia) one of the difficulties some writers have is getting an idea for a story or article. There is no need for this at all as ideas are abundant and all around us.

Just take a walk down the High Street or shopping complex/precinct/mall and you have a wealth of possibilities. Simply apply the old brain cells using a little observation, a smattering of logic plus a dash of imagination. Then apply the WWWWH (pronounced w-w-w-huh) principle to generate a flow of rejection beating ideas. Yes, the old What, Why, When, Where and How formula. Can’t beat it. Unless you hire a ghost writer.

So here we are sitting by The Old Horsetrough at Nethering-under-Wold watching the world go by. Such as there is in N-u-W. See that couple over there coming out of Comet digital? He looks glum and she looks ready to explode. Now – Why?

Well, you see he wanted to invest in a GPS system for his car. You know, one of those boys’ toys that help men find their way home on a Friday night? She thought they were going in to buy a bells-and-whistles CD player for her Ronan Keating collection. They had words. Loud ones. The manager threatened to call the police. They left.

The next question is: How did this situation arise? Erm… I know – it was her birthday and she had intimated in that roundabout way that women use and men don’t understand, that she wanted a new CD player. “Ronan sounds all squeaky on this player.” “Doesn’t he always sound like that? Har-har”. He had been cudgelling his brain wondering what to get her and had come up with a Good Idea. He would treat her to a weekend at one of those health farms she was always on about. He would drive her there and collect her, but, and this is where the rubber hits the road if you’ll forgive the pun, the one he had booked her into was 120 miles away in the next county and, in order to get her there with the minimum of fuss, it was best if he had a GPS system as a back-up to his unerring sense of direction. This is called men’s logic about which several small pamphlets could be written.

What happens next? Note the use of the word ‘What’. Not entirely the correct use of that part of the formula, but is saves me having to think up a proper ‘What’ later. Two shops down is the Far Away Travel Agents where our male protagonist has paid for the holiday after cashing in his ISA for the purpose (note the possibilities for a sub-plot here). He steers her glumly into the shop. She looks a little startled and is about to Ask Questions when the young lady salesperson smiles and says “Oh, you must be Mrs (insert name). Aren’t you a lucky girl?” Mrs (insert name), now fighting through a fog of disorientation, is about to ask a somewhat more serious Question when the lady salesperson produces the documents and luxury brochure for the health farm…

Now, Where does this all lead us? Emotional-reconciliation-and-all-is-forgiven scenario or What?
Well, I’ve done all the work for you so I reckon it’s your turn to finish it off. Or better still, go out and work a story up for yourself. If I can do it, you can do it.