J is for Jamboree (Skim to the underlined genre or style that best suits you.)
It’s easy to think of some party–a jamboree–in a Romance novel, because that’s where Opie and Ms. Right meet. Now decide the purpose of the party, and who will be there. A town event, something celebrating the town’s history? Are the people attending wearing costumes? What two costumes would look so not right together, and yet be a perfect fit? What brought Opie to the party–obligation and servitude, or boredom, or hope? And how did she end up there, the Ms. Right wearing the costume that so outrageously clashes with his?
Mystery lovers, imagine the clues you could find at a jamboree. A business card left behind, suggesting that somebody who denies being there might have been there after all (or someone wants us to think so). Perhaps the murder was committed with a weapon that might be part of someone’s costume. The story could be quite lively if it circles around a jamboree. Imagine all of the colors you’d see there, feathers and chains, sequins, and candy with just the right sprinkle of poison and served to just the right guest. Think about the different types of people there, the dancing, the laughing, and the screams that weren’t even heard over the loud music. Who wanted the victim dead? What does the victim mean to the sleuth? And hat is the sleuth’s motivation for solving the mystery?
Literary writers might think about a jamboree as a significant event not only in the history of the town, but the history of a certain family or a certain person. From year to year, a jamboree was held, but in this one particular year, it took on a new meaning. It put a series of events into motion that ultimately brought back that same certain person, if not in time and space, at least in mind. How does this jamboree reflect the inner workings of this character’s life? Think of a town event or jamboree that in some way defines a little part of you, and then magnify that aspect to give it to your character. Give it meaning; stretch it this way and that.
Children or Young Adults love parties of any type. For young adults, it’s an excuse to meet the opposite sex. That could turn into a romance, or it could turn into a reflective coming-of-age story, where the character learns romance is merely a plot point in her life, but not a way of life. And where better to learn such a lesson than a jamboree? And for younger kids, I think it best that their parents organize a jamboree-fest from A to Z. Naturally, the one who contributes with the most originality wins some coveted prize. Remember, this doesn’t have to be a story that turns out happily ever after. It can be a realistic story, where not winning turns out to be the best win of all.
Please feel free to add to these ideas or share your own, and don’t be shy about offering up some ideas for sci-fi, horror, historical, or fantasy writers. We all need a little jumpstart now and then.