Earlier, I wrote about beginning a story with a question: "What if?" Ask yourself that question while digesting that morning's news. Example: A candidate declares for office—a high-profile state or national race. Might that news item prompt a "What if?" Perhaps the candidate was involved in a deadly high school prank twenty, thirty years ago. Maybe he was one of three buddies who bullied a fourth student, causing that person to take his or her life. These close friends swore themselves to secrecy forever. Maybe a rising political star fathered a child and abandoned baby and mother at the insistence of an overbearing parent who had presidential plans for this wayward son. On the brink of being nominated to lead his party to victory, the long-lost child—now a teenager—and her mother suddenly appear, threatening this carefully orchestrated candidacy with blackmail. Art imitating life. "What if?" Then again, a returning soldier is hiding knowledge of a battlefield atrocity his squad committed overseas. Not convinced this reluctant witness will honor his promise to keep his mouth shout, his fellow soldiers plot to silence him permanently. Instead, these former soldiers begin dying in mysterious accidents before they can carry out their plan to kill their potential accuser. Are these deaths really random or is there something else going on? Let the question roll around in your head. "What if?"
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