I personally hate hospitals. They are a phobia of mine. I look at them and see pain and death. I try to avoid sickness and the people that carry it. However, there are times, like today, where they seem a necessary evil.
I had the good fortune to sit in a hospital this afternoon for several hours while my daughter was given fluids. It was a very uneventful 3 hours in which allowed me a lot of time to think. So many good stories begin and end in hospitals. In other stories, hospitals bring 2 people together to create untimely romance that wouldn’t have happened under normal circumstances. Grand epiphanys, death bed confessions, trauma…a hospital has all of the elements to any story contained within it’s walls.
As far as writing prompts are concerned, the hospital is the ultimate place to find inspiration. The trouble is finding the one aspect or attribute that sets your story apart from others.
Sitting and staring at the IV steadily drip, I began to wonder about medical equipment and where it comes from. That lead me to the train of thought about the unknown person behind the scenes. The one that used to have dreams of conquering the world. The person that believed they would make a difference but has now passed their prime. The person that gave up on their own dreams to start a family. The person that now sits alone on a stool, repeatedly pressing a button on a never ending assembly line. A person who saves countless lives everyday without ever knowing. Another tale of the unsung hero.
Think about finding the story, within a story, next time you sit down to write. Sometimes you have to search for inspiration rather than waiting for it to find you.