Saturday, April 5, 2014

E IS FOR ELEPHANT


E is for Elephant. (Skim to the underlined genre or style that best suits you.)

Ideas can’t be copyrighted, so the ideas I will be posted are free for any of you to use.

What? You don’t think there’s a place for an elephant in Romance? Think again. PHILOSOPHY MADE SIMPLE by Robert Hellenga, though a literary novel, is wonderfully romantic. The characters are over 30, and according to Robert Parnell, that won’t work in genre romance. But it does work in love stories and literary romance, and so did the elephant. But consider a different idea–and I’m not talking love between Mr. and Mrs. Elephant. But what if your characters meet at a circus? What if the hero was balancing on one hand on top of an elephant, and the heroine came to his rescue when he fell? Or perhaps she is the person training the elephant, and that’s how she meets the guy dressed in a glittering costume who will start the show with the elephant. Or maybe they met at a zoo. Or they both worked there. Either the hero or heroine could be close friends with the elephant, while the other is annoyed by the noisy and obnoxious creature.

In a Mystery, it would be intriguing if the tracks the sleuth was scouting was made by an elephant. Or maybe the elephant is the victim – either elephant-napped or murdered. This could be serious, because I doubt elephants are cheap. There could be quite the ransom put up for a beloved elephant. Whodunit and why?

When you’re trying to learn why someone would kill an elephant, you naturally have to let your imagination take you to the question, Who does the elephant belong to? What does this elephant mean to that person? Those questions will help you shape your mystery.

If you’re writing in the Literary life (Hellenga successfully combined literary and romantic–my heart was twittering nonstop), you might consider the power and strength that elephant has, and the symbolism you could create with it. You might think about the old cliché “the white elephant in the room.” You don’t have to use the words of the cliché in your story, but you could certainly borrow the theme or premise. And how could a story like that not turn into something literary? After all, we all know it’s often what we don’t talk about that is the most powerful weight in our lives. What situation could be devastating to two or more people, yet remains something none of them will mention? Play with that idea circled around an elephant and you’ll be on your way to a good story.

There are already quite a few elephant stories out there for Children, but if they are good, there’s always room for more. When I was a child, I’d often imagine what it would be like to use an elephant’s long trunk as my personal slide. I was sure it would be great fun, and never once did I consider that the trunk might not be slippery enough to get me sliding. I also never thought of what could happen if I was on that trunk when the elephant whipped it back and let out a loud noise (that I can’t even imitate right now).

Today I’m a little older, and the idea of climbing an elephant’s trunk would scare me poopless, though I do see the humor that could be created around a child with such a goal. Another idea would be a kid who wants to save an elderly elephant from whatever destiny circus owners or zookeepers might have in mind for it.

Grab an idea and get writing! Or, share an idea in one of these genres or one I didn’t mention, such as sci-fi or fantasy. Thanks!

Happy writing!

45 comments:

  1. These tips are great. Very inspiring and give me elephant ideas.

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    1. I'm glad you find them inspiring. Thanks!

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  2. In case I ever think of writing a novel, then I will surely refer these posts ;) They are quite helpful :)

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    1. Thanks for stopping. I guess the reply button is working again. :-)

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  3. Great post - I'm into the origin of phrases we use in our writing, so 'elephant in the room' caught my eye!

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  4. There is some magical about elephants to me. Their soulful eyes maybe. I have always wanted to interact with an elephant but the options for me always sadden me because I'm not a big fan of the circus or the zoo. So for today it will be my imagination or maybe journaling about their majestic nature. Thanks for the idea.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Conlee. I hope you find many more ideas to inspire you.

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  5. I love how inspiration comes from the oddest places. I've never had an elephant idea, but that isn't to say I never will....

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  6. That's it, I'm putting an elephant in my next mystery. He will be elephant-napped and the hero (a handsome detective) saves the day. (Hope this comment doesn't show up twice, as I might have duplicated)

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    1. Can't wait to read your next mystery. Love your writing.

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  7. This reminds me right away of Water for Elephants. :)

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  8. I was going to say this makes me think of Water for Elephants, but I see someone already beat me to it :)

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    1. No worries. As I was blog hopping, I notice quite a few people chose elephants for E. and here I thought I was being so unique. :-)

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  9. I really do love all your ideas, they are so inspiring.

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    1. Thank you. I appreciate your comment.

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  10. The mystery is how they got the elephant into the room to begin with . . .

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  11. LOL. I would love to write in an elephant. Did you know they used elephants to help pave road in Florida WAY back in the day?

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    1. That is really one cool fact. Thanks! I think I can hear them coming down our little road now...

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  12. Never ever had thought of Elephants like that! I think they could go well in a Children's story! Also, in India elephants were a common ride for royalty in olden days!

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    1. I think they should still give rights to royalty. It's so showy that it's perfect. :-)

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  13. I've been reading a lot of shifter stories, and I'm sort of over the wolf shifter thing. So how about an elephant shifter? Maybe the heroine sees an elephant at a circus, and then it turns out to be the hero. Could it be the guy uses the circus to be an elephant without making people suspicious? do the circus people know that the elephant and its owner are the same person? Why don't they get suspicious when they never see the two together?

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    1. You know, I think the story could really work. If you write it, I want to see a copy. Please. :-)

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  14. It made me think of the elephants in the Lord of the Rings where Legolas shoots one of the marauding beasts with his arrows, then slides down its trunk to land on his feet. Gimli tells him the elephant only counts as one in his enemies-killed tally.

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    1. Maybe ill get to slide down an elephant trunk someday, but I don't think so. :-) Thanks for reading.

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  15. Elephants made me think of Water for Elephants. It had a little of everything in it too.

    I used to use this blog template. Love the wish flowers. They are one of my favorite things.

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    1. Thanks for joining my blog and leaving a comment. I appreciate it, and I'm so happy to meet you.

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  16. Perfect, I'm all for adding elephants! I collect elephants but I came by this love from a childhood experience. My family had a friend who had traveled the world. He had collected hundreds of elephants and his living room was filled with the collection. As a young girl I was dazzled by it all. So when I first started writing short stories it was only natural to include elephants in one them! Hmm....maybe I should expand that story. Shells–Tales–Sails

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  17. What a lovely post on Elephants...I have had quite a few elephant rides in my life...they are so thrilling.

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    1. I can't believe you actually got to write elephants. How exciting! I'm jealous.

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  18. This almost makes me want to reread Water for Elephants! ;)

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    1. I know what you mean. Thanks for stopping.

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  19. I'm getting at least one tip out of each of your posts...and usually more. Great job!

    D.B. McNicol
    A to Z: Romance & Mystery...writing my life

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  20. I don't think there would be the least bit of trouble adding elephants. What I'm thinking about is in early Roman times elephants were used in warfare to trample the enemy's lines. Great fodder for a historical novel.

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    1. Wow. That really is a good idea. Thanks for commenting.

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  21. Haha, I'm clearly so unoriginal - the first thing I thought of was Water for Elephants!

    Love the idea of setting the story in a circus though. Have you read The Night Circus? No elephants in that circus, but it's a lovely story. Circuses can be fun and glittery or have a dark edge to them - a fantastic setting for a story! Glad I found your blog, that's a great theme for A to Z :-)

    Celine

    Celine's Louche Lounge, part of the A to Z challenge

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    1. No, I haven't read it, but I'm going to look it up online right now. Thanks for the tip.

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    2. Just to be clear, are you referring to the book by Erin Morgenstern?

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  22. At this point in time my favorite book is Water for Elephants: A Novel by Sara Gruen. I have a pig and kangaroo in my latest mystery. Elephant may make an appearance in my next one! Thanks for the idea!

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  23. Who wouldn't want an elephant in their story? I think I'll go add some to all of mine. ;)

    ~Patricia Lynne~
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, YA Author

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