NEW: Discuss What Ifs in our Facebook Group

dave_small
Dave Haslett, founder, ideas4writers

 

Hello fellow writers!

If you go to the ideas4writers Facebook group you’ll see an exciting new feature. Each day we’re choosing one of the What Ifs we posted on the blog at the beginning of each month, and we’re discussing it in depth, expanding and enlarging on it, and looking at the story possibilities in each one. I hope you find it useful. It’s certainly stretching my imagination!

The Facebook group is open to anyone who wants to join. Just go to the group and click the Join button and I’ll grant you access the next time I’m on Facebook. You don’t need to be a member of the ideas4writers website or the blog. Your friends can join too – just let them know where to find us. The more people who join, the better the discussions should be, and the more ideas we’ll get for bigger and better stories.

In case the link above isn’t working, the ideas4writers Facebook group is at: www.facebook.com/groups/ideas4writers

WEBSITE UPDATE

If you’re a member of the ideas4writers website, you might have spotted that our forum software has died. We’re going to redesign the site over the next few months, so it seems silly to replace the forum software with something else, only to have to scrap it again when the new site launches. So we’re using the Facebook group as our forum for now, and directing all our members there instead.

When the new website launches, the forum will be at the front of the site, not hidden away in the members’ section, so everyone will be able to use it.

DAVE’S NEWS

I hope you’ve made a great start to your writing in 2017. I have huge plans for the year, and I’ve made a big wall chart with all the projects and timelines I’ll be working on. It looks … scary. But just about doable with a lot of work (and no procrastinating).

You might know that I get most of my ideas while I’m out walking, so when I saw the Walk 1,000 Miles in 2017 challenge, I immediately signed up for it. As I write this I’ve just completed the walk for day 9 and my total so far is 33 miles (8 miles more than the target) so it’s going well – I could even afford to take a couple of days off. Snow is forecast for the end of the week, which might limit the walks for a few days. (But I’ll believe it when I see it – it rarely snows here.)

I’m planning to do some longer walks over the summer. There are about 50 walking routes through the Blackdown Hills, about 20 minutes from here, that I haven’t explored yet. I’m also part of a walking group, but they only walk on Wednesday evenings between May and August.

If I’m walking on my own (which is most of the time – the rest of the family are not walkers!) I take my phone and headphones with me and listen to podcasts to keep me company. They help the miles fly by, and don’t inhibit the flow of ideas. I have Evernote on my phone, so it’s easy to note down (or speak) each idea as it occurs, or take a quick photo, and file it in the relevant section.

The podcasts I listen to are: The Creative Penn, the Sell More Books Show, Write 2B Read, and a new one called the Book Launch Show. I also download and listen to the Radio 4 shows The News Quiz and the The Now Show when they’re on – but they’re not on at the moment.

I must leave you now as it’s 9 pm and I have a chapter to write before bedtime. I hope to connect with you in the Facebook group. Or I’ll see you here this time next week with 50 Newsworthy Anniversaries in July 2017 for you to write about.

What If? 31 Creative Writing Prompts for January

Happy New Year! Here’s this month’s selection of What Ifs to stimulate your writing brain. Let’s see what can you do with these! Some 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.

NEW for 2017: You can discuss these ideas further in our Facebook group!

What if…

1. you worked for a secret government department that rewrote history?

2. our only form of transport was motorised roller skates?

3. the schools in each community were at war with each other?

4. fathers brought up children?

5. you built a time machine that appeared to work, but it took you back to events that had never happened or forward to events that would never happen?

6. humans communicated by singing like birds?

7. students decided what they should be taught in school?

8. you were meant to write a new version of Planet of the Apes but you misheard it as Planet of the Grapes?

9. you were unable to fall in love?

10. you never wrote another word?

11. your guardian angel told you everything you must do and must not do?

12. your guardian angel was an idiot?

13. your guardian angel was at war with someone else’s guardian angel?

14. inanimate objects were thrilled when you used them correctly, but deeply upset when you didn’t?

15. everyone had their own personal alphabet?

16. there was always enough time?

17. you had too much spare time on your hands?

18. you had too much money?

19. you were too intelligent?

20. you were too beautiful or too handsome?

21. your writing was considered ‘too perfect’?

22. you went for a walk and never came back?

23. you did all the things that signs said you were not allowed to do?

24. people recognised each other by their smell alone?

25. everything was free?

26. you sent fake news reports to your local newspaper to make your community sound more interesting than it actually was?

27. you tried to make your community more attractive to a certain type of people?

28. you decided to create a monument that would baffle future generations?

29. you achieved your goal of playing games for a living?

30. you were debating whether or not to bring a child into this world?

31. you were at a TV studio where a (supposedly) real-life show was being filmed, and you discovered the secret scripts?

Become a lifetime member of ideas4writers
and get all 40+ of our ebooks for just £49.95

(Other currencies also accepted)

Price if purchased individually: £214.56
Save: £164.61

Click here to find out more or email us to ask a question

ideas4writers: inspiring you since 2002

Next Year’s News: 50 Newsworthy Anniversaries in June 2017 for you to write about

Here are 50 newsworthy anniversaries coming up in June 2017 for you to write about (and make money from). The anniversaries are listed 6 months in advance to give you enough time to find markets, and research and write your articles.

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 2017The listing below is a small sample of the entries for June from The Date-A-Base Book 2017
There are 326 anniversaries for June in the book (more than six times more than listed here). The book covers the whole of 2017 from January to December and features more than 4,000 anniversaries in total.

If you need to work further ahead, Next Year’s News 2018 (the new name for the Date-A-Base Book series) is also available!

Just one published article should cover the cost of your copy many times over – and the book also explains how to get your articles published.

1000 years ago (5 Jun 1017)
Death of Sanjo, Emperor of Japan (1011-16).

500 years ago (18 Jun 1517)
Birth of Ogimachi, Emperor of Japan (1557-86).

300 years ago (24 Jun 1717)
Freemasonry: the first Grand Lodge was founded in London. (It is now the United Grand Lodge of England.)

200 years ago (26 Jun 1817)
Birth of Branwell Brontë, British artist, writer and poet. Brother of the writers Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë.

200 years ago (30 Jun 1817)
Birth of Sir Joseph Hooker, British botanist. One of the greatest British botanists and explorers of the 19th century. Director of the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew (1865-85). He was also a close friend of Charles Darwin and encouraged his work.

150 years ago (8 Jun 1867)
Birth of Frank Lloyd Wright, famous American architect.

150 years ago (17 Jun 1867)
Birth of John Robert Gregg, Irish-born American publisher who developed Gregg Shorthand – the most popular form of shorthand in the USA.

125 years ago (3 Jun 1892)
Liverpool Football Club was officially founded in England.

125 years ago (6 Jun 1892)
The Chicago ‘L’ rapid transit system began operating in Illinois. It is one of the largest and busiest city transit systems in the USA.

100 years ago (4 Jun 1917)
The Order of the British Empire was established by King George V. It is an order of chivalry awarded to people who make a significant achievement for (or contribution to) the United Kingdom. There are 5 classes: Knight/Dame Grand Cross (GBE), Knight/Dame Commander (KBE/DBE), Commander (CBE), Officer (OBE), Member (MBE).

100 years ago (4 Jun 1917)
The first Pulitzer Prizes were awarded.

100 years ago (5 Jun 1917)
World War I: the first WWI draft registration day was held in the USA. About 10 million men aged 21 – 31 registered for military service. Registration was compulsory. (By the end of the war in 1918 about 2.8 million American men had been drafted, and a further 2 million had joined the armed forces as volunteers.)

100 years ago (7 Jun 1917)
Lions Clubs International was founded.

100 years ago (11 Jun 1917)
Alexander I became King of Greece following his father Constantine I’s abdication. (Constantine went into exile in Switzerland.)

100 years ago (13 Jun 1917)
World War I: Germany carried out its deadliest air raid of the war. Gotha G.IV heavy bombers attacked London, killing 162 people and injuring 432. One of the bombs fell on a primary school in Poplar, where 16 children were killed.

100 years ago (15 Jun 1917)
Death of Kristian Birkeland, Norwegian physicist, astrophysicist, educator and explorer. Known as ‘the first space scientist’. Best known as the first person to determine the nature of the aurora borealis. He also invented a process for fixing nitrogen from the air (the Birkeland–Eyde process) and made numerous other contributions to science. He was nominated for a Nobel Prize 7 times, but never won.

100 years ago (17 Jun 1917?)
Birth of Dean Martin, (‘the King of Cool’), popular American stage, film and television singer, actor and comedian. A member of the Rat Pack. Noted for his seemingly effortless charisma and performances. Well known for his comedy partnership with Jerry Lewis. He also hosted the TV series The Dean Martin Show and The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast. (Several sources give his date of birth as 7th June but we believe 17th is correct.)

100 years ago (23 Jun 1917)
Ukraine was founded (as the Ukrainian People’s Republic). It proclaimed independence from Russia in January 1918.

100 years ago (26 Jun 1917)
World War I: the first troops from the American Expeditionary Forces arrived in France under the command of General John Pershing. They were the first U.S. forces to fight in WWI.

80 years ago (3 Jun 1937)
Prince Edward, Duke of Windsor, formerly King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom, married Wallis Warfield in France.

80 years ago (30 Jun 1937)
The 999 emergency telephone service went into operation in London – the first such service in the world. It began operating in other major UK cities after WWII and was extended nationally in 1976.

75 years ago (1 Jun 1942)
Liberty Brigade, an underground newspaper published in Warsaw, Poland, revealed the first details of the Nazi extermination camps and the gassing of tens of thousands of Jews at Chelmno.

75 years ago (3 Jun 1942 – 15 Aug 1943)
World War II – the Aleutian Islands Campaign, Alaska, USA. Allied victory. Japanese forces occupied the islands of Attu and Kiska but were eventually ejected by a combined US/Canadian force, though this took time because of the difficult terrain and weather conditions.

75 years ago (4 – 7 Jun 1942)
World War II – the Battle of Midway. The USA defeated Japan in the most important naval battle of the Pacific Campaign.

75 years ago (4 Jun 1942)
Death of Reinhard Heydrich, German Nazi official. Heinrich Himmler’s chief lieutenant in the SS. He played a key role in organising the Holocaust, and chaired the Wannsee Conference (20th January 1942). (Assassinated. The Czech village of Lidice was destroyed on 10th June in retaliation for his death.)

75 years ago (12 Jun 1942)
Anne Frank received her famous diary for her 13th birthday. She used it to document her life over the next 2 years as her family hid from the Nazis. It was first published in the Netherlands in June 1947 (as The Secret Annex: Diary Notes from 14 June 1942 to 1 August 1944). An English translation was published in the UK and USA in 1952 (as The Diary of a Young Girl).

75 years ago (25 Jun 1942)
World War II: Major General Dwight D. Eisenhower (later U.S. President) took command of U.S. forces in Europe.

60 years ago (1 Jun 1957)
The Casio Computer Company was founded in Japan.

60 years ago (1 Jun 1957)
The first premium bond prize draw took place in Britain.

60 years ago (27 Jun 1957)
Britain’s Medical Research Council reported that there was a cause-and-effect relationship between smoking and lung cancer. As a result, the Minister of Health said he had a duty to warn the public of the risks smokers faced. (In 1954 the then Minister of Health had said there was no firm evidence of a link, only a presumption of one.)

50 years ago (1 Jun 1967)
The album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by the Beatles was released.

50 years ago (3 Jun 1967)
Death of Arthur Ransome, British children’s writer. Best known for his Swallows and Amazons series of 12 novels.

50 years ago (4 Jun 1967)
Stockport air disaster, Greater Manchester, England. A British Midland Airways plane crashed in an open area near the centre of Stockport after suffering fuel starvation due to a leaking valve. 72 of the 84 people on board were killed. All 12 survivors were seriously injured.

50 years ago (6 Jun 1967)
Six-Day War: Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser closed the Suez Canal by scuttling ships on both sides of it. It remained closed until 1975. 15 cargo ships (the ‘Yellow Fleet’) were trapped in the canal for 8 years.

50 years ago (7 Jun 1967)
Death of Dorothy Parker, American short story writer, poet and critic. Renowned for her witty remarks. She was also blacklisted by Hollywood for her involvement in left-wing politics.

50 years ago (10 Jun 1967)
Death of Spencer Tracy, Academy Award-winning American actor. One of the greatest male leads during Hollywood’s Golden Age. His films include Father of the Bride, Bad Day at Black Rock, Inherit the Wind, Judgement at Nuremberg, How the West Was Won, It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and many more.

50 years ago (12 Jun 1967)
The Soviet Union launched its Venera 4 spacecraft on a mission to Venus. It became the first craft to enter another planet’s atmosphere and return data. It found that Venus’s atmosphere was extremely hot and far denser than expected. It might also have been the first spacecraft to land on another planet. (Venera 3 might have been the first – it possibly crash-landed on Venus in March 1966, but its communications system failed before it reached the planet and its fate is unknown. The first successful landing on Venus was achieved by Venera 7 in 1970.)

50 years ago (16 Jun 1967 to 18th)
The Monterey Pop Festival was held in California, USA. It featured the first major U.S. public appearances by Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Ravi Shankar, Janis Joplin, and Otis Redding. It also inspired the Woodstock Festival held in 1969. (Jimi Hendrix famously set fire to his guitar on stage at this event – an act he had first performed in London on 31st March.)

50 years ago (20 Jun 1967)
American world heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali was convicted of violating Selective Service laws by refusing to be drafted into the U.S. Army. His conviction was overturned by the Supreme Court in 1971, but it left him unable to box between the ages of 25 and 29 – what should have been the peak of his career.

50 years ago (27 Jun 1967)
The world’s first ATM (cash machine) went into operation at Barclays Bank in Enfield, north London, UK. Comedy actor Reg Varney made the first withdrawal.

50 years ago (29 Jun 1967)
Death of Jayne Mansfield, award-winning American stage and film actress. One of Hollywood’s leading blonde bombshells of the 1950s. (Car crash.)

40 years ago (10 Jun 1977)
Apple Computer released the Apple II – the first personal computer to feature colour graphics. It cost $1,298 (£835).

40 years ago (16 Jun 1977)
Leonid Brezhnev became Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union (equivalent to ceremonial head of state). He held the position until his death in November 1982.

40 years ago (26 Jun 1977)
Elvis Presley performed his last concert, in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.

30 years ago (12 Jun 1987)
During a visit to Berlin, Germany to celebrate the city’s 750th anniversary, U.S. President Ronald Reagan gave a historic speech in front of the Berlin wall, challenging Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to ‘tear down this wall’. (The wall was demolished in November 1989.)

25 years ago (17 Jun 1992)
START II arms reduction treaty: U.S. President George H. W. Bush and Russian President Boris Yeltsin attended two arms reduction summit meetings where the treaty was agreed. (The first meeting was held in Washington, D.C. on this day and the second was held in Moscow in January 1993.)

25 years ago (22 Jun 1992)
Andrew Morton’s controversial book Diana: Her True Story was published. It claimed that Diana, Princess of Wales was deeply depressed and unstable and had attempted suicide a number of times.

20 years ago (12 Jun 1997)
Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre opened in London. It is a reconstruction of the original theatre of 1599, located about 750 feet (230 metres) from the original site. The project to rebuild it began in 1970 and was led by the actor and director Sam Wanamaker (who died in 1993).

20 years ago (25 Jun 1997)
The Soufrière Hills volcano on Montserrat erupted, killing 19 people. Over the next few months it destroyed the capital, Plymouth, and rendered half the island uninhabitable. About two-thirds of the population have been evacuated. (At the time of writing it is still erupting.)

20 years ago (26 Jun 1997)
The first Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling, was published in the UK. (USA: September 1998 as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.)

10 years ago (29 Jun 2007)
Apple released the first iPhone.


Become a lifetime member of ideas4writers
and get ALL 40 of our ebooks
(including The Date-A-Base Book 2017 and
Next Year’s News 2018) for just £49.95!

(or the equivalent in your local currency)

Price if purchased individually: £214.56
Save: £164.61

Click here to find out more or email us to ask a question

ideas4writers: inspiring you since 2002

What If? 31 Creative Writing Prompts for December

Hello! Here’s this month’s selection of What Ifs to stimulate your writing brain. Let’s see what can you do with these! Some 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. they evacuated Earth and you were one of the few who stayed behind?

2. you told someone you felt sorry for them, but didn’t get the reaction you expected?

3. you used a work skill outside of work?

4. you used something you’d learned in school that you thought you’d never have a use for in real life?

5. you defended the indefensible?

6. you were tricked into saying something in another language that didn’t mean what you thought it did?

7. your toilet was really hungry?

8. your toilet ate you?

9. vehicles only went where they wanted to go?

10. you had a secret identity – online, in the real world, or both?

11. you had your own think-tank?

12. you were hugely respected?

13. you were renowned?

14. you had a bit of a reputation?

15. you had a pair of glasses that enabled you to see ghosts?

16. you ended up in another country, with no idea how you’d got there?

17. your case was to be heard by the Supreme Court?

18. you had never lasted a full week (or even a full day) at any job?

19. you became an Olympic gold medalist?

20. NASA needed your expertise?

21. one of the intelligence services summoned you to join them for a month-long secret mission?

22. teenagers started using your name as rhyming slang for the latest swear word?

23. a product that your family had used for generations was revealed to be toxic – which perhaps explained their early deaths?

24. it was free to get in but you had to pay to get out?

25. you changed the main thing about yourself?

26. parents decided what their children should be taught at school?

27. you escaped into the fictional world of a novel but couldn’t get back out again?

28. every war had turned out the opposite way?

29. we all stopped learning at 8 years old?

30. the general public was paid to solve crimes?

31. Earth was the only planet and the Sun was the only star?

Become a lifetime member of ideas4writers
and get all 40+ of our ebooks for just £49.95

(Other currencies also accepted)

Price if purchased individually: £214.56
Save: £164.61

Click here to find out more or email us to ask a question

ideas4writers: inspiring you since 2002

Available now: Next Year’s News 2018

Next Year's News 2018Next Year’s News is the new name for our popular “The Date-A-Base Book” series.

Inside you’ll find details of over 5,000 newsworthy and notable anniversaries in 2018, including events, discoveries, inventions, births and deaths.

It’s the ideal (some would say essential!) reference for all writers, journalists, researchers, TV/radio producers and film-makers.

 

Size: 8.5″ x 11.5″. 357 pages.

The ebook (PDF) version is available now. Printed copies will be available in January.

The price is unchanged from last year: £9.99 (US$12.49).

Get your copy now at www.ideas4writers.co.uk/2018

The Date-A-Base Book 2017 is also available.

ideas4writers lifetime members: this ebook is included in your membership. You can download it from the members’ home page after logging in at www.ideas4writers.co.uk.

Next Year’s News: 50 Newsworthy Anniversaries in May 2017 for you to write about

Here are 50 newsworthy anniversaries coming up in May 2017 for you to write about (and make money from). The anniversaries are listed 6 months in advance to give you enough time to find markets, and research and write your articles.

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 2017The listing below is a small sample of the entries for May from The Date-A-Base Book 2017
There are 315 anniversaries for May in the book (more than six times more than listed here). The book covers the whole of 2017 from January to December and features more than 4,000 anniversaries in total.

If you need to work further ahead, Next Year’s News 2018 (the new name for the Date-A-Base Book series) is now available!

Just one published article should cover the cost of your copy many times over – and the book also explains how to get your articles published.

400 years ago (23 May 1617)
Birth of Elias Ashmole, English antiquarian and collector. A founding member of the Royal Society. Greatly rewarded for his support for the royalists in the English Civil War. Most of his collection was donated to Oxford University, which established the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology to house it.

200 years ago (15 May 1817)
Friends Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA was officially opened (as the Asylum for the Relief of Persons Deprived of the Use of Their Reason). It was founded by the Quakers in 1813 and was the first privately run psychiatric hospital in the USA.

150 years ago (7 May 1867)
Swedish chemist and engineer Alfred Nobel was granted a British patent for his invention of dynamite – a safer and more manageable alternative to black powder and nitroglycerin. (He was also granted a Swedish patent on 19th October.)

150 years ago (26 May 1867)
Birth of Mary of Teck, Queen consort of the United Kingdom (1910––36). Wife of King George V. Mother of Edward VIII (the Duke of Windsor) and George VI.

150 years ago (29 May 1867)
Austria-Hungary (also known as the Austro-Hungarian Empire) was established as a dual monarchy when the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 (also known as the Ausgleich) came into effect. (It was dissolved in 1918 following WWI.)

100 years ago (13 May 1917)
Our Lady of Fátima, an apparition of the Virgin Mary, was reported for the first time by three shepherd children in Fátima, Portugal. (The children later revealed that they had experienced apparitions during 1916 too, but had kept the secret to themselves. The final apparition was on 13th October 1917 during an event now known as the Miracle of the Sun.)

100 years ago (18 May 1917)
The Selective Service Act came into effect in the USA. It authorised a compulsory military draft to increase the size of the U.S. Army as it entered WWI. Draft days were held on 5th June 1917, 5th June 1918 and 12th September 1918. (The war ended on 11th November 1918. All Selective Service operations closed down between March and July 1919.)

100 years ago (21 May 1917)
Birth of Raymond Burr, Emmy Award-winning Canadian-American actor. Best known for his leading roles in the TV series Perry Mason and Ironside.

100 years ago (23 May 1917)
Birth of Edward Lorenz, American mathematician and meteorologist. Noted for his work on chaos theory and the Lorenz attractor. He also coined the term ‘butterfly effect’.

100 years ago (29 May 1917)
Birth of John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States (1961––63).(Assassinated 1963.)

90 years ago (4 May 1927)
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was founded. The first official meeting took place on 11th May and the actor and producer Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. was elected as its first president.

90 years ago (9 May 1927)
The Australian Parliament convened in the new capital, Canberra, for the first time, after moving from Melbourne.

90 years ago (18 May 1927)
Grauman’s Chinese Theatre (now the TCL Chinese Theatre) opened in Hollywood, California, USA. The theatre is famous for the many (approximately 200) celebrity hand prints, footprints and autographs left in cement in its forecourt.

90 years ago (20 – 21 May 1927)
American aviator Charles Lindbergh made his historic first non-stop solo transatlantic flight, from New York, USA to Paris, France aboard the Spirit of St. Louis.

80 years ago (1 May 1937)
The U.S. Congress passed the Neutrality Act of 1937 in an attempt to avoid becoming entangled in foreign conflicts. (The Neutrality Acts of the 1930s are now regarded as negative as they treated both sides as belligerents and limited the USA’s ability to supply aid to ‘friendly’ nations such as Britain and France during WWII.)

80 years ago (6 May 1937)
The Hindenburg disaster. The German airship Hindenburg burst into flames as it docked at Lakehurst Naval Air Station in New Jersey, USA. 36 people were killed.

80 years ago (12 May 1937)
The coronation of King George VI of the United Kingdom. (This was also the BBC’s first official outdoor television broadcast and marked the first use of an Outside Broadcast Van – a mobile television control/production room.)

80 years ago (27 May 1937)
The Golden Gate Bridge was officially opened. It links San Francisco and Marin County in California, USA.

80 years ago (28 May 1937)
Neville Chamberlain became British Prime Minister.

75 years ago (3 May 1942)
World War II: Japanese American internment. The USA ordered all people of Japanese ancestry living in Military Area No. 1’ (near San Francisco, California) to go to assembly centres and await transportation to permanent relocation centres.

75 years ago (5 May 1942)
World War II: food rationing began in the USA. The first food item to be rationed was sugar, which was restricted to half of normal consumption.

75 years ago (5 May 1942)
Birth of Tammy Wynette, American country music singer and songwriter. Known as ‘the first lady of country music’. Best known for her song Stand By Your Man. (Died 1998.)

75 years ago (12 May 1942)
Birth of Ian Dury, British punk/rock/new wave singer and songwriter. Known for his songs Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, Hit Me with Your Rhythm Stick, Reasons to be Cheerful (Part Three) and the controversial Spasticus Autisticus. (Died 2000.)

75 years ago (15 May 1942)
The Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps was established in the USA.

75 years ago (15 May 1942)
World War II: mandatory gasoline (petrol) rationing was introduced in the eastern United States. Non-essential vehicles were allowed 3 gallons per week. Rationing was expanded to cover the whole country on 1st December. (Gasoline was not in short supply, but rubber was. Rationing gasoline reduced the demand for replacement tyres.)

75 years ago (19 May 1942)
Birth of Gary Kildall, American computer scientist who created the CP/M operating system and founded Digital Research, Inc. (Died 1994).

75 years ago (22 May 1942)
United Steelworkers was founded. It is the largest trade union in North America.

70 years ago (22 May 1947)
Cold War: U.S. President Harry S. Truman signed what is now known as the Truman Doctrine. It granted $400 million in military and economic aid to Greece and Turkey to help fight the spread of communism.

60 years ago (2 May 1957)
Death of Joseph McCarthy, American politician. Senator from Wisconsin. Known for his sensational accusations and investigations of the so-called communist infiltration of the State Department and other branches of government. His charges ultimately proved unfounded and he was discredited and censured by the Senate.

60 years ago (10 May 1957)
Birth of Sid Vicious, notorious British punk rock star (the Sex Pistols). (Died 1979.)

60 years ago (15 May 1957)
Operation Grapple: Britain carried out its first hydrogen bomb test explosion over Malden Island in the Pacific Ocean. Immediately after the test, Britain announced to the world that it had become a thermonuclear power. However, the test was actually disappointing and the bomb produced less than a third of its expected 1 megaton yield. (The first real success was Grapple X, which was dropped over Kiribati on 8th November 1957 and produced a yield of 1.8 megatons – this is regarded as the date when Britain actually became a thermonuclear power.)

60 years ago (16 May 1957)
Death of Eliot Ness, American federal law enforcement officer. Best known for his efforts to enforce Prohibition in Chicago, Illinois. Leader of ‘The Untouchables’ – the legendary fearless and incorruptible group that worked to end Al Capone’s illegal activities.

60 years ago (28 May 1957)
The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, best known for the Grammy Awards, was established in Hollywood.

60 years ago (31 May 1957)
The British Computer Society (BCS) was formed. Its first president was the renowned computer scientist Maurice Wilkes.

50 years ago (1 May 1967)
American singer Elvis Presley married Priscilla Beaulieu in Las Vegas.

50 years ago (5 May 1967)
Ariel 3, the first satellite designed and built in Britain, was launched to study the Earth’s atmosphere. It remained operational (or semi-operational) until September 1969 when it was deactivated. It re-entered the atmosphere in December 1970.

50 years ago (25 May 1967)
Celtic became the first British football team to win the European Cup, beating Internazionale Milan 2 – 1 in Lisbon, Portugal.

50 years ago (28 May 1967)
British sailor and aviator Sir Francis Chichester became the first person to complete a true solo circumnavigation of the world from west to east via the clipper route and great capes.

50 years ago (30 May 1967)
The Republic of Biafra was established when the Eastern Region of Nigeria declared independence. (After a bitter civil war, Biafra was reintegrated with Nigeria in January 1970.)

50 years ago (30 May 1967)
Death of Claude Rains, British-born American stage and film actor. Noted for his smooth, polished style. His films include The Invisible Man, The Adventures of Robin Hood, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Casablanca, Lawrence of Arabia and more.

40 years ago (25 May 1977)
The film Star Wars (later retitled Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope) was released in the USA. (UK: 27th December.)

40 years ago (27 May 1977)
British punk rock band the Sex Pistols released their controversial single God Save the Queen. It reached #2 in the charts during the Queen’s Silver Jubilee celebrations in June. Many believe the sales figures were manipulated to keep it from the #1 spot.

40 years ago (29 May 1977)
American racing driver Janet Guthrie became the first woman to compete in the Indianapolis 500. (She suffered engine problems and finished 29th.)

30 years ago (28 May 1987)
Mathias Rust, a 19-year-old amateur pilot from West Germany, illegally landed his plane in Red Square, Moscow, Soviet Union. (He was arrested and detained until August 1988.)

25 years ago (6 May 1992)
Death of Marlene Dietrich, German-born American stage and film actress and singer.

25 years ago (9 May 1992)
Westray Mine Disaster, Nova Scotia, Canada. 26 miners were killed by a methane explosion.

20 years ago (6 May 1997)
The Bank of England was granted operational independence by the government. It was also granted sole responsibility for setting the country’s interest rates.

20 years ago (11 May 1997)
The IBM computer Deep Blue defeated world chess champion Garry Kasparov in a six-game match in New York City, USA. (Kasparov: 1 win, Deep Blue: 2 wins, drawn games: 3.)

20 years ago (27 May 1997)
American software developer Eric S. Raymond published his famous essay The Cathedral and the Bazaar, which discusses software engineering methods – particularly the struggle between top-down and bottom-up design. The essay, and his 1999 book of the same name, is regarded as the principal manifesto of the open source software movement.

10 years ago (25 May 2007)
Google Street View was launched in the USA. It provides panoramic views along streets, and now covers many parts of the world.


Become a lifetime member of ideas4writers
and get ALL 40 of our ebooks
(including The Date-A-Base Book 2017 and
Next Year’s News 2018) for just £49.95!

(or the equivalent in your local currency)

Price if purchased individually: £214.56
Save: £164.61

Click here to find out more or email us to ask a question

ideas4writers: inspiring you since 2002

What If? 30 Creative Writing Prompts for November

Hello! Here’s this month’s selection of What Ifs to stimulate your writing brain. Let’s see what can you do with these! Some 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. everyone was illiterate?

2. your destination kept getting further away?

3. there were no depths you wouldn’t sink to?

4. you were a cause of dismay?

5. you couldn’t wipe the smile off your face?

6. you couldn’t see through all the tears?

7. sharks could fly?

8. your whole life was sponsored – by a product, brand, organisation or individual?

9. you needed someone killed?

10. words didn’t have vowels?

11. words didn’t have consonants?

12. you accidentally researched the wrong subject and discovered something extraordinary?

13. you were frozen to the spot?

14. you had nothing to do?

15. there was nothing you could have done?

16. you could have done something but you chose not to?

17. a great revelation was revealed?

18. it all suddenly made complete sense?

19. you doubled the amount of exercise you were getting?

20. you had twice as many ideas?

21. you opened it and then decided you didn’t want it after all?

22. you liked to keep people on their toes?

23. you always made a point of rejecting the first one?

24. you were microscopic?

25. you owned the world’s biggest company?

26. you were fired from the company you founded?

27. you managed your kids’ band, and they suddenly became huge?

28. you had to make a life-or-death decision every single day?

29. you were poisonous?

30. you caused an earthquake?

Become a lifetime member of ideas4writers
and get all 40+ of our ebooks for just £49.95

(Other currencies also accepted)

Price if purchased individually: £214.56
Save: £164.61

Click here to find out more or email us to ask a question

ideas4writers: inspiring you since 2002