What If? 30 Creative Writing Prompts for September

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Here’s this month’s selection of What Ifs to stimulate your brain – what can you do with these? Some of them are deliberately vague or ambiguous so you can interpret them in different ways.

There’s one for each day of the month. If you need more please take a look at our book The Fastest Way to Get Ideas – 4,400 Essential What Ifs for Writers.

What if…

1. you were granted access to an unlimited amount of money?

2. you decided to use your wealth to manipulate something that most people have no control over?

3. access was refused?

4. your presence was not welcomed?

5. your presents were not welcomed?

6. it wasn’t as glossy as it first appeared?

7. you could never tell a book by its cover?

8. you lived in an environment that had not been designed for humans?

9. you misused your vote?

10. you lost your mind?

11. getting revenge wasn’t enough?

12. it was payback time?

13. you had unlimited power?

14. you weren’t tall enough to get on?

15. a drug you relied upon was banned?

16. you survived a crash?

17. you were involved in a feud that became a worldwide media circus?

18. you started a campaign for your favourite TV show to be continued?

19. the fact that you earned less than someone else bothered you, and you decided to do something about it?

20. no one made it the way you did?

21. you’d been planning the trip for weeks but when you got there it was closed?

22. you got them to open up anyway?

23. you reinvented yourself?

24. it was your job to find and exploit loopholes?

25. everything was staged or faked?

26. the world lost its colour?

27. you didn’t think twice about it?

28. it was a really big deal?

29. you used the most inappropriate expression?

30. reviews of your latest masterpiece called it ‘ill-advised’?

– – – – – – –

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50 Newsworthy Anniversaries in February 2016 for you to write about (and make money from)

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Here are 50 newsworthy anniversaries coming up in February 2016 for you to write about (and make money from). The anniversaries are listed 6 months in advance to give you enough time for research and writing.

We have painstakingly cross-checked every entry, but you are advised to check all facts again as part of your research. Please let us know of any errors you find.


The Date-A-Base Book 2016The listing below is a small sample of the entries for February from The Date-A-Base Book 2016
There are 251 anniversaries for February in the book, which covers the whole of 2016 from January to December and features more than 3,450 anniversaries in total.

Just one published article should cover the cost of your copy many times over.

If you need to work further ahead, The Date-A-Base Book 2017 is also available.

—–

500 years ago (18 Feb 1516)
Birth of Mary I, Queen of England (1553-58). Also known as Mary Tudor or Bloody Mary.

400 years ago (26 Feb 1616)
Galileo was ordered by the Catholic Church (represented by Cardinal Bellarmine) to abandon his opinion that the Earth and planets revolve around the Sun (known as the Copernican theory). He was banned from holding the opinion, promoting it, or teaching it.

200 years ago (20 Feb 1816)
Rossini’s opera The Barber of Seville was performed for the first time, at the Teatro Argentina in Rome, Italy. (It was poorly received, partly because many members of the audience were supporters of his rival, Giovanni Paisiello. However, it quickly became a huge success.)

150 years ago (13 Feb 1866)
The first daylight bank robbery in the USA during peacetime took place at the Clay County Savings Association in Liberty, Missouri. The robbery was committed by former Confederate guerrillas. Some sources say the gang was led by the outlaw Jesse James, though it is uncertain whether he actually took part.

150 years ago (26 Feb 1866)
Birth of Herbert H. Dow, pioneering Canadian-born American chemist and industrialist. Founder of the Dow Chemical Company.

100 years ago (19 Feb 1916)
Death of Ernst Mach, Austrian physicist and philosopher. He made key contributions to the fields of optics, mechanics and wave dynamics. The Mach number (the ratio of an object’s speed to the speed of sound) is named after him.

100 years ago (21 Feb – 18 Dec 1916)
World War I – the Battle of Verdun (France). French victory. The longest battle in history, and one of the costliest, with over 700,000 casualties.

100 years ago (26 Feb 1916)
Birth of Jackie Gleason, Tony Award-winning American comedian, actor and musician. Best known for his role as Ralph Kramden in the television series The Honeymooners. He also starred in The Jackie Gleason Show and played Minnesota Fats in the film The Hustler.

100 years ago (28 Feb 1916)
Death of Henry James, American-born British novelist (The Turn of the Screw, The Portrait of a Lady, Daisy Miller, The Ambassadors and more).

80 years ago (4 Feb 1936)
Radium E, the first radioactive element to be made synthetically in the USA, was produced by Dr. John Jacob Livingood at the University of California, Berkeley.

80 years ago (5 Feb 1936)
The Charlie Chaplin film Modern Times was released. It was the last major silent film. (The sound era had become well established since 1929.)

80 years ago (6 – 16 Feb 1936)
The 4th Winter Olympics were held in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.

80 years ago (8 Feb 1936)
America’s National Football League (NFL) held its first draft (a two-day event where NFL teams recruit new players from the college system).

80 years ago (27 Feb 1936)
Death of Ivan Pavlov, Russian physiologist. Best known for developing the concept of the conditioned reflex. Winner of the 1904 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.

75 years ago (4 Feb 1941)
The United Service Organizations (USO) was founded to provide social, welfare and recreational services for members of the U.S. armed forces and their families.

75 years ago (5 Feb 1941)
Death of Banjo Paterson, Australian bush poet and journalist. Best known for the song Waltzing Matilda and for his poetry collections including The Man from Snowy River and Other Verses.

75 years ago (19 Feb 1941)
World War II: Germany’s Afrika Korps was formed in Libya, under the command of General Erwin Rommel. (Other dates sometimes given for this event include 12th Feb when Rommel was assigned the command, and 14th when he arrived in Libya. The unit was officially named on 19th.)

75 years ago (21 Feb 1941)
Death of Sir Frederick Banting, Canadian physician. Joint winner of the 1923 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for co-discovering insulin and using it to treat diabetes.

75 years ago (23 or 24 Feb 1941)
Plutonium was first produced and identified by a team led by Glenn Seaborg at the University of California, Berkeley, USA.

75 years ago (28 Feb 1941)
Death of Alfonso XIII, King of Spain (1886-1931).

60 years ago (11 Feb 1956)
Two members of the Cambridge spy ring, British diplomats Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean, announced that they had defected to the Soviet Union. They had both vanished in mysterious circumstances in 1951. (Russian leader Nikita Khrushchev had denied they were in the Soviet Union when questioned two weeks earlier.)

60 years ago (14 – 25 Feb 1956)
The 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was held in Moscow. It is notable for Soviet leader Nikita Khruschev’s secret speech, On the Cult of Personality and Its Consequences, given on the final day, in which he condemned and denounced former leader Josef Stalin as a brutal despot. This led to the de-Stalinization of the Soviet Union.

60 years ago (28 Feb 1956)
American computer engineer Jay Wright Forrester was granted a patent for the magnetic memory core. It became the standard random access memory device for digital computers for the next 20 years.

50 years ago (1 Feb 1966)
Death of Buster Keaton, American silent film actor, comedian and director. Noted for his physical comedy and deadpan ‘stone face’ expression.

50 years ago (3 Feb 1966)
The Soviet Union’s space probe Luna 9 became the first craft to achieve a soft landing on the Moon. (The USA’s Surveyor 1 achieved the same feat 4 months later, on 2nd June.)

50 years ago (9 Feb 1966)
Death of Sophie Tucker, Russian-born American singer, actress and entertainer. Hugely popular on the vaudeville and music hall circuit. Noted for her flamboyant stage persona and comical and risqué songs.

50 years ago (14 Feb 1966)
Australia’s currency was decimalised, replacing the British system of pounds, shillings and pence.

50 years ago (20 Feb 1966)
Death of Chester W. Nimitz, Fleet Admiral of the United States Navy. Commander-in-chief of U.S. forces in the Pacific during WWII.

40 years ago (4 Feb 1976)
Guatemala earthquake. 23,000 people were killed, 76,000 injured and approximately 1.2 million left homeless.

40 years ago (23 Feb 1976)
Death of L. S. Lowry, British artist. Known for his bleak industrial landscapes of north-west England, often populated with ‘matchstick men’.

30 years ago (7 Feb 1986)
The President of Haiti, Jean-Claude Duvalier, left the country and went into exile in France following a popular uprising.

30 years ago (11 Feb 1986)
Death of Frank Herbert, American science fiction writer. Best known for his Dune series of novels.

30 years ago (20 Feb 1986)
The Soviet Union launched the Mir space station.

30 years ago (25 Feb 1986)
The President of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos, fled the country and went into exile in Hawaii, USA. He was succeeded by Corazon Aquino.

30 years ago (26 Feb 1986)
Robert Penn Warren became the USA’s first Poet Laureate.

30 years ago (27 Feb 1986)
The U.S. Senate agreed to allow its debates to be televised (initially on a trial basis, but it later became permanent).

30 years ago (28 Feb 1986)
Death of Olof Palme, Prime Minister of Sweden (1969-76, 1982-86). (Assassinated.)

25 years ago (1 Feb 1991)
USAir Flight 1493 landed at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and immediately collided with a commuter plane which was preparing to take-off on the same runway. 35 people were killed, including all 12 aboard the commuter plane. The crash was blamed on poor control tower procedures. Different runways are now used for landing and take-off at LAX.

25 years ago (7 Feb 1991)
Jean-Bertrand Aristide was sworn in as the first democratically elected President of Haiti.

25 years ago (7 Feb 1991)
The IRA launched a mortar attack on 10 Downing Street while the British Prime Minister John Major was chairing a cabinet meeting to discuss the Gulf War. No one was hurt.

25 years ago (9 Feb 1991)
In a referendum the citizens of Lithuania voted for independence from the Soviet Union.

25 years ago (13 Feb 1991)
Death of Ron Pickering, British athletics coach, BBC sports commentator and host of the children’s sports television shows We Are the Champions and Superstars.

25 years ago (21 Feb 1991)
Death of Dame Margot Fonteyn, British ballet dancer.

25 years ago (24 Feb 1991)
Gulf War – Operation Desert Sabre: the US-led coalition launched a massive ground offensive against Iraqi forces. Kuwait was liberated on 27th Feb after 208 days of Iraqi occupation. The war ended at midnight on 28th.

20 years ago (5 Feb 1996)
The first genetically modified food went on sale in the UK: tomato purée made from tomatoes which had had the ‘rotting gene’ removed. (The product was withdrawn in 1999 following strong opposition.)

20 years ago (9 Feb 1996)
The IRA exploded a bomb in London’s Docklands, killing 2 people and causing massive damage.

20 years ago (13 Feb 1996 – 21 Nov 2006)
Nepalese Civil War. The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) launched the war against government forces with the aim of overthrowing the Nepalese monarchy and establishing a People’s Republic. The war ended with the signing of a Comprehensive Peace Accord. The monarchy was abolished in May 2008 and Nepal became a democratic republic.

20 years ago (15 Feb 1996)
The oil tanker Sea Empress ran aground near Milford Haven, Wales, causing a major oil spill along the coastlines of Wales and Ireland.

20 years ago (27 Feb 1996)
The Pokémon media franchise was launched by Japanese video game designer Satoshi Tajiri.

10 years ago (21 – 22 Feb 2006)
The largest cash robbery in British history took place at a Securitas depot in Tonbridge, Kent. A gang abducted the manager and his family and took them at gunpoint to the depot. 14 staff were tied up. Over £53 million ($85 million) in bank notes was stolen. (About £20 million was later recovered.)


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Announcing: The Date-A-Base Book 2017!

Friday, 14 August 2015

The Date-A-Base Book 2016 and 2017We are pleased to announce that The Date-A-Base Book 2017 is now available. (And The Date-A-Base Book 2016 is still available if you haven’t got yours yet!)

The 2017 edition gives details of more than 3,800 newsworthy and notable anniversaries that will occur between January and December 2017, including significant events, discoveries and inventions, and famous births and deaths.

It’s the ideal reference/source book for writers, journalists, film-makers, editors, producers, researchers, teachers, students, speakers and event planners.

Perfect for writing newspaper and magazine articles, TV/radio features and documentaries, organising events and exhibitions, and much more.

For more information (including a complete sample chapter) please click on the links below:

The Date-A-Base Book 2017
The Date-A-Base Book 2016

ideas4writers lifetime members: you can download both of these books free of charge from the Members’ home page. You’ll need to log in at www.ideas4writers.co.uk using your email address and password.

Find out more about becoming a member here (there’s a one-time-only membership fee to join).

What If? 31 Creative Writing Prompts for August

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Here’s this month’s selection of What Ifs to stimulate your brain – what can you do with these? Some of them are deliberately vague or ambiguous so you can interpret them in different ways.

There’s one for each day of the month. If you need more please take a look at our book The Fastest Way to Get Ideas – 4,400 Essential What Ifs for Writers.

What if…

1. you were caught up in a bank robbery?

2. there was a troll under every bridge ?

3. you were willing to go to any lengths?

4. you went a step too far?

5. trees were impossible to climb?

6. there was no way of analysing what had happened?

7. the view outside your window kept changing?

8. you were hung out to dry?

9. gravity was much stronger?

10. the only breathable air was 6 inches from the ground?

11. the shapes of the constellations in the night sky were clearly not a natural phenomenon?

12. every constellation in the night sky looked identical to all the others?

13. there was only one original planet – the others were all identical clones, of varying dimensions. (Is Earth the original or one of the clones?)?

14. radio communication didn’t work because there was too much interference from solar and cosmic radiation?

15. the world had been made for you?

16. all buildings were caves hand-carved into rock?

17. something that could never become contaminated became contaminated?

18. you thought the unthinkable?

19. husbands and wives were legal tender?

20. you kept applying for the same job over and over again?

21. you were unable to recognise doors?

22. humans had a larval phase and then metamorphosed into something else?

23. you were always 1 hour late?

24. someone reviewed someone else’s book or product but accidentally posted it on your book’s page on Amazon – and it changed your life?

25. your best friend turned out to be an undercover police officer and arrested you?

26. you were an undercover police officer – but you had no idea you were?

27. your favourite teacher at school turned out to be a child molester?

28. a character you created became an international figure of hatred?

29. you did something exceptional in memory of someone you cared about?

30. you revived a long-dead tradition?

31. you saw your own obituary?

– – – – – – –

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How to make money by writing newsworthy anniversary articles

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Each month from now on we’re going to pick one of the anniversaries from our monthly listings (see last week’s post), see how many article ideas we can come up with, and think about where we might be able to sell them.

We’ll be discussing the anniversaries 6 months in advance, so you’ll have time to carry out further research and write the articles. If you need to work further ahead, each Date-A-Base Book covers an entire year and includes considerably more anniversaries than we list on this blog.

This month’s example is taken from the January listing in The Date-A-Base Book 2016. The entry for 9th January 1816 (200 years ago), when the British chemist and inventor Sir Humphrey Davy first tested his miners’ safety lamp, caught my eye.

This entry is pretty newsworthy in itself, being a 200th anniversary. An article about it should be welcomed by national newspapers, general magazines, science magazines, news websites, science and invention websites, and so on.

Davy was Cornish, so you could write a feature on his life, inventions and legacy for a Cornish or south-west regional newspaper and the county magazine.

The newspaper(s) covering the specific part of Cornwall where he was born (Penzance) should also be interested in an article that not only chronicles his life and achievements but looks at the school he went to, the house he lived in, his early life in the town, and so on. (The current secondary school in Penzance is named in his honour.) He then went to Truro Grammar School, about 30 miles away, and that city will have its own local newspaper(s), so there’s scope for an additional (but more or less identical) article there, since the readerships of the local newspapers serving these two towns is unlikely to overlap to any great extent.

Davy tested his lamp at Hebburn Colliery, Tyne and Wear, in north-east England, so you could also write articles for a north-east regional newspaper and for the county magazine for Tyne and Wear, as well as the local newspaper(s) covering Hebburn. The readerships may overlap here, so you’ll need to write different articles, explore different angles, and so on. One article might look at the impact his lamp (and other safety lamps) had on mining, while another might chronicle his life, and a third article might look at his other discoveries, quickly mentioning the anniversary of the lamp test as a hook to get the article started.

Although many people know him only for his miners’ safety lamp, did you know that it wasn’t particularly successful? It restricted the amount of light emitted by the candle, and miners disliked how dim it was. The gauze inside the lamp that prevented methane explosions deteriorated rapidly in the wet conditions inside mines and soon stopped working, so the explosions still kept happening. I’m sure most people don’t know about this (I certainly didn’t until I read about it a moment ago), so it would be well worth writing about. You could also write about the causes of mine explosions, other developments in mine lighting and safety, rescue techniques, successful and unsuccessful rescues, well known people (or close relatives of well known people) who lost their lives in mine explosions and might have survived if they’d had better equipment, celebrities who had former careers as miners, and so on.

There are trade magazines covering the mining and chemical industries, and there are chemistry journals and science magazines which would be worth contacting to see if they’d like an article about the test, the lamp, or Davy’s life and discoveries. School/educational magazines and history magazines might be also be interested. Some mining museums might be interested in paying you to write an article for their website or newsletter.

The safety lamp is just one aspect of Davy’s life, and many people now regard his other discoveries and achievements as being far more important. These will all be worth writing about, but you can use the 200th anniversary of his safety lamp test as the hook that makes them newsworthy in January 2016.

For example, he pioneered the use of electrolysis to split compounds into their separate elements, and through this he discovered sodium and potassium. This is hugely important, and you could write about what these elements have been used for since he discovered them and what we use them for today. You could also explore the electrolysis process in more detail or look at other elements that can be separated using it – such as hydrogen and oxygen from the electrolysis of water. He was also the first person to isolate magnesium, boron and barium; he discovered that chlorine was an element – and he gave it its name; he was the first person to identify iodine; he also proved that diamond is a form of carbon. These are all important elements and discoveries and would be well worth writing about.

He became well known for demonstrating laughing gas (nitrous oxide) during his popular lectures, and his friend, the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, was an enthusiastic participant in his experiments. You could write about the use of this gas as an anaesthetic (and its other uses) and go on to discuss other historic and modern forms of anaesthesia. You could also write about popular lectures and famous demonstrations – particularly those involving famous people, or ones that went spectacularly or disastrously wrong.

As well as his scientific achievements, he was one of the founders of London Zoo – which will be well worth an article. He is also known as ‘the father of modern fly-fishing’ – so there’s scope for another article here, for publication in the various angling magazines around the world

Davy damaged his eyesight in a laboratory accident, so you could write about this and how it affected him. You could also explore the development of eye protection, look at everyday household chemicals which are hazardous to eyesight, and so on. You should be able to find all sorts of markets for these articles, including national newspapers and general magazines; women’s magazines; trade magazines for opticians, chemists, engineers, healthcare workers; and more – both in your own country and internationally.

All of these articles can begin by mentioning the 200th anniversary of the safety lamp test, and then continue: ‘Although Davy is remembered for his safety lamp he also…’ or: ‘You might not know that Davy also…’ and then you can go on to discuss whichever other aspect of his life or work you want to talk about.

All of this information came from the Wikipedia page about him. That page also has links to several related pages, references and a bibliography. You could also look him up in Encyclopaedia Britannica or the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, or have a quick skim through a book about his life. You can do all of these things in just a few minutes, and they will all undoubtedly lead to ideas for further articles.

Note: neither Wikipedia nor Encyclopaedia Britannica are known for being 100% reliable, so it’s important to cross-check your facts with other sources. But if both Wikipedia and Encyclopaedia Britannica give the same information then it should be safe to trust it.
In case you don’t manage to sell all of these articles (or can’t get them all commissioned before writing them), or you don’t have time to write them all, don’t throw anything away – you can use it all again in the future. Davy died in 1829, so the 200th anniversary of his death (in May 2029) isn’t that far away (14 years at the time of writing). Make a note of this date and where you’ve kept your articles and notes, as you should be able to sell everything then. If anything, the demand for articles about him will be even greater at that time, and you should also be able to resell the articles that were published the first time around. There will also undoubtedly be many TV documentaries and radio features about him then, which you could write or contribute to.

Tip: Never throw away your articles or ideas, and always keep copies of the articles you’ve had published. You never know when you might be able to sell them again! It’s a good idea to store everything in a secure place and index it all so you can find it easily.

You’ll find lots more tips on how to write and sell newsworthy anniversary articles in our free ebook Ditch Your Day Job – the Easiest Way to Make a Living as a Writer.

302 historic anniversaries in January 2016 for you to write about (and make money from)

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

cover16_3dHere’s the complete listing for January (all 302 anniversaries) from The Date-A-Base Book 2016.

It comes in two formats: chronological order or sorted by date. If you haven’t tried them before (or even if you have!) please let us know which version you prefer.

Right-click on either link below then choose “Save Target As” or “Save Link As” to save the file to your computer.

PDF file: January 2016 (chronological order)

PDF file: January 2016 (sorted by date)

Many thanks for all your thoughtful comments and advice regarding my arm injury. A week further on and I’ve now got most of the movement back and there’s hardly any pain – just a niggle now and then. I’ve stopped taking the painkillers but have to continue with the anti-inflammatories for another two weeks. Hopefully that will be the end of it.


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The ‘arm injury’ update

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Hello! A little while ago I said we’d be improving this blog – and it only partially materialised. The expanded list of What Ifs happened, but not the other things. Also The Date-A-Base Book 2017 was due out in June and hasn’t appeared. So what’s gone wrong?

Two things: (a) I was heavily involved in running this year’s town fair, which raised over £1,600 for charity and (b) I’ve hurt my right arm and can’t do very much.

The arm thing is all down to what I can only describe as ‘abuse’. Copy/pasting the entire Date-A-Base Book 2016 into date order last month kind of set things off. But on top of that I had to hammer 16 advertising signs into the ground around town for the fair, hammer 4 coconut shy poles into some (very hard) ground, hump some (very heavy) tables around, instruct competitors in the ‘welly wanging’ contest, and so on.

My arm is now so well abused that it won’t take any more. The tendons are massively inflamed and I can barely move it. The pain keeps me awake at night, so I’m sleeping at odd times whenever the pain eases a bit. I’m on painkillers and (very strong) anti-inflammatories, and I’ll need ultrasound treatment if it hasn’t improved in 3 weeks.

Anyway… all the things I promised previously will still happen; they’ll just take a little longer because I can’t go very fast at the moment.

We should get a complete version of The Date-A-Base Book 2017 out by the end of the month, but it probably won’t be in its usual grid format because I can’t manage the copy/pasting. (I asked Kate if she’d consider doing it, but her answer is unfit for publication.)

Next week’s blog will feature the Date-A-Base list of anniversaries for January 2016, and the following week we’ll run the same list of article ideas (based on one of the anniversaries) that appears in Ditch Your Day Job: the easiest way to make a living as a writer.

Next month should (hopefully) include everything we previously promised in the expanded blog, including the bigger list of What Ifs, 50 Date-A-Base anniversaries for February 2016, and a full page of brand new article ideas based on one of the February anniversaries.

In other (very good) news: our missing author, Dr. Ellis Silver, has returned home, according to his family. You may remember that he went missing last August and hadn’t been seen since. We don’t have any other details at the moment; we’re just relieved that he’s home and safe. In due course we’ll ask him about the second edition of his book Humans are not from Earth, but now is definitely not the right time.

What If? 31 Creative Writing Prompts for July

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Here’s this month’s selection of What Ifs to stimulate your brain – what can you do with these? Some of them are deliberately vague or ambiguous so you can interpret them in different ways.

There’s one for each day of the month. If you need more please take a look at our book The Fastest Way to Get Ideas – 4,400 Essential What Ifs for Writers.

What if…

1. you could only do one thing on your computer each day?

2. someone called you something in a foreign language and you had no idea if it was a compliment or an insult?

3. you were a stranger?

4. you realised you could make a fortune in the adult film / entertainment market?

5. a lie you told years ago came back to haunt you?

6. you completely misunderstood a new technology?

7. you couldn’t trust yourself?

8. you could pick your own team?

9. the impossible happened?

10. the impossible happened again?

11. you’d met all your friends in the most bizarre circumstances?

12. you discovered an unsuspected talent?

13. you eventually found a use for something you’d thought was useless?

14. deadlines were illegal?

15. the world was not enough?

16. you had to keep a crowd of 80,000 people entertained for 2 hours?

17. it was acceptable to discriminate against ugly people?

18. all artworks created in a particular year had to conform to that year’s official style?

19. you embraced your inner nerd/geek?

20. you were the only person in the world who could do what you do?

21. your pet constantly argued with you?

22. you almost went to jail?

23. you disagreed with something purely because you didn’t like who was saying it?

24. someone moved the signs for a prank?

25. a software update scrambled all your work?

26. a criminal offered you a job that would make you rich?

27. something much more sinister was going on?

28. you never stopped having sex?

29. the weather was used as a weapon?

30. people lit up like fireflies?

31. the official records didn’t show what you had seen with your own eyes?

– – – – – – –

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50 Newsworthy Anniversaries in December 2015 for you to write about (and make money from!)

Monday, 15 June 2015

Here are 50 newsworthy anniversaries coming up in December 2015 for you to write about (and make money from). The anniversaries are listed 6 months in advance to give you enough time for research and writing.

We have painstakingly cross-checked every entry, but you are advised to check all facts again as part of your research. Please let us know of any errors you find.

The Date-A-Base Book 2015 | ideas4writersThe listing below is a small sample of the entries for November from The Date-A-Base Book 2015There are 340 anniversaries for December in the book, which covers the whole of 2015 from January to December and features more than 4,000 anniversaries in total.

Just one published article should cover the cost of your copy many times over.

If you need to work further ahead, The Date-A-Base Book 2016 is also available.

Members onlyideas4writers lifetime members can download a 150-page preview of the 2017 edition from the members’ home page. (The preview lists all the newsworthy birth and death anniversaries in 2017, but not the events. The full version should be available in about a month.)

—–

500 years ago (24 Dec 1515)
Thomas Wolsey was appointed Lord Chancellor of England.

250 years ago (8 Dec 1765)
Birth of Eli Whitney, American inventor of the cotton gin.

200 years ago (3 Dec 1815)
Death of John Carroll, the first Roman Catholic bishop in the USA and the first archbishop of Baltimore, Maryland.

200 years ago (10 Dec 1815)
Birth of Ada, Countess of Lovelace, British mathematician. Best known for her work with Charles Babbage. Considered the world’s first computer programmer. Daughter of the poet Lord Byron.

150 years ago (6 Dec 1865)
The Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was officially adopted, abolishing slavery in the USA.

150 years ago (8 Dec 1865)
Birth of Jean Sibelius, Finnish composer. Considered the most important Scandinavian symphonic composer.

150 years ago (10 Dec 1865)
Death of Leopold I, the first King of the Belgians (1831–65). Succeeded by his son Leopold II.

150 years ago (25 Dec 1865)
Birth of Evangeline Booth, British-born Salvation Army leader. Its first female general.

150 years ago (30 Dec 1865)
Birth of Rudyard Kipling, British short story writer, novelist, poet, and children’s author. Best known for The Jungle Book, Just So Stories, Kim, The Man Who Would Be King, Gunga Din, If–, and more. Winner of the 1907 Nobel Prize for Literature.

125 years ago (29 Dec 1890)
The Wounded Knee Massacre (also called the Battle of Wounded Knee), South Dakota, USA. Troops from the U.S. 7th Cavalry Regiment shot and killed about 300 members of the Lakota tribe.

100 years ago (8 Dec 1915)
The war poem In Flanders Fields, by Canadian physician Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, was first published in Punch magazine in the UK.

100 years ago (9 Dec 1915)
Birth of Dame Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, German-born Austrian/British soprano.

100 years ago (12 Dec 1915)
Birth of Frank Sinatra, American singer and film actor. One of the best-selling artists of all time. A founding member of the Rat Pack.

100 years ago (19 Dec 1915)
Birth of Édith Piaf, French singer and actress. One of France’s greatest international stars. Best known for the songs Non, je ne regrette rien and La Vie en rose.

80 years ago (12 Dec 1935)
The Lebensborn project was established in Germany to counteract falling birth rates and promote Nazi eugenics.

75 years ago (1 Dec 1940)
Birth of Richard Pryor, award-winning American stand-up comedian and film actor. (Died 2005.)

75 years ago (12 & 15 Dec 1940)
World War II – the Sheffield Blitz, UK. The city of Sheffield, famous for its steel industry, was devastated by German bombs. More than 660 people were killed, 1,500 injured, and 40,000 made homeless.

75 years ago (21 Dec 1940)
Birth of Frank Zappa, prolific American rock / experimental / jazz / classical musician, singer, composer and film director. (Died 1993.)

75 years ago (21 Dec 1940)
Death of F. Scott Fitzgerald, American novelist and short story writer. Considered one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century. Best known for his novel The Great Gatsby.

75 years ago (22 Dec 1940)
Death of Nathanael West, American satirical novelist and screenwriter. Best known for his novels Miss Lonelyhearts and The Day of the Locust.

75 years ago (30 Dec 1940)
The Arroyo Seco Parkway (also known as the Pasadena Freeway) was officially opened in California, USA. It is considered the first true freeway in the USA – though narrow by modern standards.

70 years ago (27 Dec 1945)
The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development were formally founded. (They had been created at the Bretton Woods Conference in July 1944.)

70 years ago (28 Dec 1945)
The U.S. Congress formally recognised the Pledge of Allegiance. (It was written in 1892. Before 1945 it was known as the Pledge to the Flag. It was last revised in 1954 when the words ‘under God’ were added.)

60 years ago (1 Dec 1955)
African American civil rights activist Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white man in Montgomery, Alabama, USA, violating the city’s racial segregation laws. This incident led to the Montgomery bus boycott (5th Dec 1955 – 20th Dec 1956) and the birth of the modern American civil rights movement.

60 years ago (4 Dec 1955)
The American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations merged to form the AFL-CIO – the largest federation of trade unions in the USA.

60 years ago (4 Dec 1955)
Death of Glenn L. Martin, American aviation pioneer and manufacturer whose aircraft company is now part of Lockheed Martin.

60 years ago (20 Dec 1955)
Cardiff was proclaimed the capital city of Wales.

50 years ago (3 Dec 1965)
The album Rubber Soul by The Beatles was released.

50 years ago (9 Dec 1965)
The animated television special A Charlie Brown Christmas was first broadcast in the USA. It was based on Charles M. Schulz’s Peanuts comic strip and continues to be broadcast annually.

50 years ago (16 Dec 1965)
Death of W. Somerset Maugham, prolific British novelist, short story writer and playwright. One of the most popular writers of his era. Best known for his novels Of Human Bondage, The Moon and Sixpence, Cakes and Ale and The Razor’s Edge.

50 years ago (22 Dec 1965)
A maximum speed limit of 70 mph was introduced on previously unrestricted roads in Britain. (The limit was introduced on a trial basis but was made permanent in July 1967.)

50 years ago (22 Dec 1965)
The U.S. première of the film Dr. Zhivago. (UK: 26th April 1966.)

50 years ago (22 Dec 1965)
Death of Richard Dimbleby, pioneering British journalist and radio/television broadcaster. The BBC’s first war correspondent. One of the greatest figures in British broadcasting history. Father of the television presenters David Dimbleby and Jonathan Dimbleby.

50 years ago (27 Dec 1965)
Sea Gem oil rig disaster, North Sea. Britain’s first-ever oil rig capsized due to metal fatigue after being moved to a new site. 13 crew were killed.

50 years ago (30 Dec 1965)
Ferdinand Marcos became President of the Philippines.

40 years ago (11 Dec 1975)
Third Cod War: one of the most serious incidents of the Cod Wars occurred when an Icelandic ship opened fire on 3 unarmed British tugboats. No one was hurt.

40 years ago (29 Dec 1975)
LaGuardia Airport bombing, New York City, USA. 11 people were killed and 74 injured when a bomb exploded near the TWA baggage reclaim terminal. The perpetrators and motive are currently unknown.

30 years ago (26 or 27 Dec 1985)
Death of Dian Fossey, American zoologist. The world’s leading authority on mountain gorillas. (Murdered in Rwanda, case unsolved – poachers?)

25 years ago (1 Dec 1990)
Construction workers on the Channel Tunnel broke through the last wall of rock separating the two halves, and Britain and France were linked for the first time in thousands of years.

25 years ago (2 Dec 1990)
West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl was elected Chancellor of Germany. (He had been acting-Chancellor since reunification on 3rd Oct.)

25 years ago (2 Dec 1990)
Death of Aaron Copland, American composer.

25 years ago (22 Dec 1990)
Lech Walesa, leader of the once-outlawed Solidarity trade union movement, became President of Poland.

25 years ago (25 Dec 1990)
The first successful trial run of the system that would become the World Wide Web was completed at CERN in Switzerland.

20 years ago (4 Dec 1995)
Bosnian War: the first NATO troops landed in Sarajevo to begin setting up a peace mission. Peacekeeping operations began on 20th.

20 years ago (7 Dec 1995)
NASA’s Galileo spacecraft reached Jupiter after a 6-year journey. It released a probe into the planet’s atmosphere, which sent back data on its structure and composition before being destroyed by the pressure.

20 years ago (8 Dec 1995)
Head teacher Philip Lawrence was stabbed to death outside his west London school while trying to protect a student who was being assaulted by a gang of youths.

20 years ago (13 Dec 1995)
Brixton riot, south London, UK. Hundreds of youths rioted on the streets of Brixton following the death of a black man in police custody.

20 years ago (14 Dec 1995)
The Bosnian War ended with the ratification of the Dayton Accords in Paris, France. (The war had begun in April 1992.)

10 years ago (11 Dec 2005)
Buncefield Oil Depot fire, Hertfordshire, UK. An oil storage tank exploded when an unconfined vapour cloud ignited, causing nearby tanks to explode. 43 people were injured. The explosion was heard in France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

10 years ago (19 Dec 2005)
The Civil Partnership Act came into effect in the UK. The first civil partnership under the act was formed in Belfast, Northern Ireland that day. The first in Scotland was on 20th December, and the first in England and Wales were on 21st December.


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The Date-A-Base Book 2016 sorted by date

Monday, 8 June 2015

cover16_3dBy popular request…

The Date-A-Base Book 2016 is now available in an alternative format where the entries are sorted by date (i.e. all the 1st Jan entries come first, then all the 2nd Jan entries, etc.)

 

ideas4writers lifetime members can download it right now from the members’ home page.

For everyone else: we’ll send you both versions (chronological and sorted by date) when you buy the ebook edition.

The printed version is only available in chronological order.

Full details here: www.ideas4writers.co.uk/2016

(We’re currently working on the 2017 edition. We’ll announce it here as soon as it’s ready – approximately 1 month to go.)


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