Encounters with the Writing Process
|June 14, 2010
From The Daily Writer by Fred White
"Write twelve what-if questions. Write a page long synopsis for one of them."
(The advice is to write the page long synopsis for each what if question for 12 days, then to develop one synopsis into a novel or a novella. I will, however, do one synopsis today and probably leave others to another time. This exercise might be useful for NaNo.)
1. What if the late sixteenth century Puritans had a secret community still in existence in a mountainous area and their conclave held their meeting inside a cave to decide to purify he USA of today?
2. What if Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Seminole Indian had killed a Florida Panther instead of his sailor killing an albatross (The Rime of Ancient Mariner)? What would Coleridge write?
3. What if a dictator in an imaginary land had prohibited visual arts, that is, painting, movies, TV, computers etc.?
4. What if a person remembered everything, every single thing? What would his life be like? His relationships?
5. What if an envious, bitter woman who habitually undercuts her sister’s success and self-confidence suddenly starts helping her? What brought on the change?
6.What if a rich, megalomaniac man who owns an island (or two? Several?) on the Pacific Ocean steals other people’s children, all of them the same age, to put together a new nation? Also what if a stranger is shipwrecked on this island when the children are fifteen years of age?
7. What if while giving someone a haircut, something goes wrong in the hairdresser’s mind and she shaves the one side of the head totally? (Comedy?)
8. What if a stranger keeps following another person around while the stranger does the same as that person does? Like ordering the Mocha Lattés in Starbucks or the same dinner in a restaurant, offering to share the same taxi ride, going to the movies to see the same show, etc.
9. What if an average child with 105 IQ turns (slowly?) into a prodigy?
10. What if a heroic character, to feed a small populace in a forlorn place, tries to bypass a tyrant who has locked all the food in storage?
11. What if our internet can be accessed from other galaxies?
12. What if a chemical causes paranoia among a group of cruisers and they accuse one another all the time? What kind of a sight-seeing cruise would that be?
Synopsis for no. 6 :
What if a rich, megalomaniac man who owns an island (or two? Several?) on the Pacific Ocean steals other people’s children, all of them the same age, to put together a new nation? Also what if a stranger is shipwrecked on this island when the children are fifteen years of age?
Chapter 1. The rich egomaniacal man with his posse inspects the 300 well-built cabins on an island while he tells his second-in-command of his dreams for future.
Chapter 2. The rich man donates to the schools to pinpoint candidates for children who will assume the leadership roles. Everyone adores the rich man for his altruism and encouraging actions for education.
Chapter 3. The gathering of ten-year-old children has begun. Most children are kidnapped from the orphanages. Those to assume the leadership roles are taken from the private schools.
Chapter 4. Children are kidnapped, drugged, and brought to the island. This island is for habitation. Two other islands are for raising crops and making things that the children will need.
Chapter 5. The Children are made to believe that a catastrophe (An asteroid hitting the earth?) is in the near future and that they are here to save the species. They are also taken daily to the other islands to be made to work, that is, to raise or produce what they need.
Chapter 6. Four of the children (the smartest) form a secret clique.
Chapter 7. One child from the clique yells at a teacher or rather an agent of the rich man that he doesn’t believe in the asteroid fable. He is secretly taken away from the community of children to a a re-indoctrination center resembling a prison.
Chapter 8. The other three do not believe what they are told, but they are smart enough not to show it, since they have guessed that something bad happened to their friend for yelling out loud what he believed in.
Chapter 9. The re-indoctrinated child returns and tells the other three about the re-indoctrination center. The other three convince the fourth that he had been brainwashed.
Chapter 10. The four children slowly start convincing the others that their benefactor (the rich man) is a crazy guy and no asteroid is going to hit the earth.
Chapter 11. The children revolt. They are met with tear gas and punished with hunger. The rich man explains his coming and going to them by saying that he has a home in a very tiny fourth island and that he’ll leave the ruling of the community to the most industrious and obedient child.
Chapter 12 A hurricane hits the islands. Three children among the 300 are dead. The rich man convinces them that the asteroid has hit the other side of the earth.
Chapter 13. A shipwrecked sailor swims ashore at the island. Two of the four children find him. The sailor tells them about the hurricane and that no asteroid ever hit the earth.
Chapter 14. The shipwrecked sailor, threatened with death, is silenced by the so-called elders and he stays in the island with the children.
Chapter 15. Years pass. The children are fifteen and quite happy. They are encouraged to procreate to re-populate the earth.
Chapter 16. A big ship passes by, visible to all the children who believed, up to then, that they were the only living beings on earth. The ship’s existence throws suspicion.
Chapter 17. The shipwrecked sailor has managed to make friends with the four non-believers in the rich man’s words. By this time, two of the four have become lovers and they want to escape for better or worse.
Chapter 18. The two open to the sea, in the middle of the night, together with the sailor. The other two try to keep the elders and the other children at bay for about half a day.
Chapter 19. The sailor and the two kids are on the open sea. In the distance, they see a liner and are picked up by the crew whose captain sends word to authorities even though he doesn’t believe in what he’s heard.
Chapter 20. By now, the sailor’s escape with the two is discovered. The rich man tells the community that they drowned and their bodies were thrown ashore at his home island where he buried them with his own hands.
Chapter 21. As he talks, several navy ships appear in the horizon. Everyone in the community runs to the beach as the rich man takes off in his helicopter. From one of the navy ships the two fifteen year-olds with the sailor watch their friends waving at the ships from the shore.
Duh! I'm so NOT going to write this!