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Writing Spark: The Coming Storm

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From cameo appearances to the starring role, weather has played many characters in story, especially in film. From the hurricane in “Dolphin Tale” to the gentle rain that Gene Kelly danced in, in one of the most iconic scenes from “Singing In The Rain”.

In “Cast Away”, violent storms provide the two most pivotal plots points: the inciting incident that crashed the plane and stranded Chuck on an island, and the ‘all is lost’ moment in Act III when a storm stripped him of his food, shelter and only friend, Wilson, leaving him truly destitute out in the middle of the ocean.

Without the deep freeze in “The Day After Tomorrow”, the squall in “The Perfect Storm” and the tornadoes in “Twister” there is no movie and our characters are stuck at home playing Parcheesi.

But what about other-worldly weather. Sandstorms on Mars make Matt Damon an interplanetary cast away. Vin Diesel uses weather to his advantage as Riddick, and Channing Tatum braves the most famous planetary storm in our galaxy by flying through the great Jupiter spot.

Storytellers are fascinated by weather because it creates movement, conflict and intrigue to any story. They can use it to strike fear or dread in our hearts, and those of our characters, a sense of wonder, or a reason to dance.

This weeks story Spark uses weather to stimulate our muse.

 

Brainstorm:

  • What does this world look like?
  • Where is this world?
  • Who lives here?
  • What is the landscape?
  • What are the primary colors?
  • Who does the toy belong to?
  • Where are they?
  • Who’s watching the storm and why do they need to go through it?
  • Where do they need to go?
  • Are they going alone or with others?

Think outside the box:

  • What kind of storm is it? What if the lighting wasn’t electricity or weather related at all. What could it be?
  • What if the storm was a portal to somewhere else. What’s on the other side? Where does it lead?
  • Does our character welcome it or dread it? Do they fear it?
  • What if the toy wasn’t a toy at all and instead only had the appearance of a toy.
  • Maybe this takes place in the past. When is it?

Let your muse go wild. Have fun and see where it takes you.

What does this spark for you?

While we’re at it, let’s test your story knowledge. In the comments name some stories where weather played a key role.

Provide

  • if it’s a book or movie
  • is the weather an inciting incident, plot point, cameo or takes center stage.

How many can you think of? Do you have any favorites?

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