Monday, April 21, 2014

R IS FOR RAFT


R is for Raft (Skim to the underlined genre or style that best suits you.

Ideas can’t be copyrighted, so these ideas are free for you to use.

Rafting can be very romantic, so Romance writers and readers, imagine this: the scene in the movie “The Titanic,” where handsome hero, freezing in cold water, hangs on to the makeshift one-person raft while his love remains safe atop that very raft. He doesn’t leave her side. It’s a powerful scene. Yours can be too. Maybe your hero and heroine just escaped a harrowing war, and they are on that small raft in waters tainted with the blood from those who didn’t survive. Fire is still blazing along the shoreline of the land from which they fled, and they embrace in a long kiss–because despite the despair surrounding them, they now share a stronger union than they ever did before. Death can do that. Survival can do that. And hearts will do that.

In another story, a dead body was shipped away via a raft, and it was weeks later that it had been discovered across far waters. What a wonder for the Mystery writer this could be. What is your sleuth to make of this? Where did the body come from? Checking pockets for clues might not help if the killer emptied them. Yet the jacket the victim is wearing is somewhat unique. With luck, through the designer label, it can be tracked down. But think about this scenario. Is this an evil joke? Because if the killer wanted only to end the victim’s life, wouldn’t he or she have preferred the victim be lost at the bottom of the ocean or river and never discovered? Consider why a killer would choose this method of body disposal… It must have a personal significance to the killer, and perhaps to the victim. That should get your creative juices maneuvering through stormy waters.

Literary? Consider that your main character’s family arrived here (wherever “here” is) via raft. Where did they come from? Why did they leave wherever they had been before the sail on the raft? In what way did the raft shape the character’s view of the world, good or bad? What might have happened on the raft that may have changed his or her outlook? What insights were gleaned through the physical journey and the inner journey?

Children and Young Adults, and adults who never grew up can have a great time on a raft at camp. A first love can be met, a challenge attained, a race won, and a friend lost. I did lose a high school mate who’d drowned during an outing that should have been fun. I’m glad I wasn’t there, but I knew everybody who was. He was the only one who didn’t make it back to the raft, and the kids with him didn’t find him until rescuers came–too late. There’s painful power here, because yes, some of the classmates on the swim had been drinking. The one I knew the most had a rough time dealing with the never-ending question, if I hadn’t been drunk, could I have saved him? This is a story that would have to be told with caution to avoid the preachy feel and lecture, not to mention sentimentality. But it can and should be told.

What ideas can you pull off the top of your head? If you can offer some in genres I didn’t cover, such as horror, sci-fi, or fantasy, please share! Readers will appreciate it.

Happy writing!

 

86 comments:

  1. I also was thinking of raft of ideas! Great post Debi thank you - all sorts of reckless ideas come to mind. The story of your high school mate not making it back to the raft is very sad.
    Garden of Eden Blog

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    1. Yes, it was. Not something one could forget.

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  2. That YA story is definitely a powerful one. You're right about it having to be told a certain way to avoid preachiness and sentimentality.

    Madeline @ The Shellshank Redemption
    Minion, Capt. Alex's Ninja Minion Army
    The 2014 Blogging from A-Z Challenge

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  3. I am impressed how easily you "flow" with your ideas!

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  4. One of the most awesome rafts ever, in my opinion, is the one from Castaway. :) I just love that movie.

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    1. So do I, and it's the only one I've ever seen with one character pulling all the weight, and yet successfully.

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  5. Like Liza... I am amazed at the sheer volume of ideas that you have. Incredible truly!!!

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  6. Rafts can lead to much indeed, or you can just go with the tried and true, "Were you born on a raft?" lol

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  7. Still impressed with the many ideas contained in your A-Z!

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  8. You should compile these posts into an e-book... these ideas are great!
    Here's the link to a post that showcases 8 different books (fiction and non-fiction) that have been born out of the A to Z challenge. Check it out when you have a moment.
    http://damyantiwrites.wordpress.com/2014/03/26/have-you-read-any-of-these-books-born-from-blogging-atozchallenge/

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  9. I love what you described for the romance genre. :)

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  10. One of my alltime favorite books from decades ago is "Yellow Raft in Blue Water" by Michael Dorris.

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  11. A raft can conjure up so many scenes. Since I'm a children's writer, I'd use a raft to take the main character to a land of mythical creatures.

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  12. Weekday a fun post. My first book, A Change of Plans, includes shipwreck after a modern-day pirate attack. But my characters were in a small catamaran rather than a raft.

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    1. Sounds intriguing! Thanks for stopping by.

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  13. Now that I think of it, I've never written a raft before. That might change. :)

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  14. I read and re-read Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. Their adventures on a raft were more than just adventures- but also about racism and slavery.

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    1. Yes, I don't know anyone who hasn't learned a lot from Mark Twain.

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  15. The rafting idea is perfect in either romance (ways to find love) or thriller (ways to dispose of said love, who turned out to be anything but).
    Too bad about your high school friend, but at least thank heaven you didn't witness it.

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    1. I'm very glad I didn't the it. I would have been the one not drinking and carrying diet pop instead, at least back then, but I also would've been the one not very good at swimming. And there's no way I would've ever got the awful experience out of my mind. I pray for those who had to witness it.

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  16. A time travelling raft, perhaps? Or one created from the limbs of your victims?

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    1. The time travel is a great idea. So is the other one, but it's too gruesome for me to think about right now. :-)

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  17. A raft with a dead body and a unique jacket! Do you know what should've happened on this A-Z Challenge? You should have been allowed to start earlier than anyone else so you could have fuelled our imaginations!

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    1. Hee! Actually, I would have enjoyed it. I always giggle lot of ideas, and I know I could never find the time to use them all, so I love sharing them with others who can.

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  18. A group of turkeys is called a rafter. Could do something with that maybe?

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    1. Yes, I can see some treasured scroll getting ruined through a stampede of wild turkeys. Now what will the main character do when he has to confess to the scroll's owner, that he lost such a treasured relic? Thanks for sharing the idea!

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  19. I saw your comment on a river post and that was what brought me to your blog for #AtoZchallenge I love that your R is to share Ideas for writing, how thoughtful and kind ☮Peace ☮ ღ ONE ℒℴνℯ ღ ☼ Light ☼ visiting from http://4covert2overt.blogspot.com/

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  20. I love this sharing of ideas and writing prompts. It's thrown up some fantastic comments as well! I would especially like to read the time travelling raft story! ;)

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  21. I put four kids in a raft for Into The Sea of Dew, a short story that came out in Two and Twenty Dark Tales. Rafts are perfect places for conflict among characters.

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    1. Yes, I think it could make for a real interesting ride.

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  22. I'm too late to say what a raft of ideas!
    But that is so very sad about your high school friend.
    I'm very pleased to have found your blog x

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  23. Hi Debi!
    What a neat theme for the A-Z Challenge! Very unique. I enjoyed this post. It really gets the writing-brain going! Just what I need...MORE ideas!
    Thanks for stopping by my blog today. I appreciate the comment and kind words. Oh, and thank you for the share on Facebook. How kind!
    Cheers,
    Jen

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  24. The "what ifs" are interesting, perhaps write a story with two endings, answering the "what ifs."

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  25. I love the water. I love when characters tell me of being on or around the water. I consider a raft an enabler... :)

    The Immarcescible Word

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    1. That's an interesting way to look at it. :-)

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  26. Replies
    1. HAH! I like Rah's take on this!!

      Thank you for coming by my place earlier and leaving a comment...

      I have to much to learn as far as writing goes...

      ~shoes

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    2. Thanks for stopping by, Shoes. :-)

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  27. Some great ideas for raft, debi!! :)

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  28. I love your theme and think the ideas in this post are good. I see plot formation already. Thanks so much for sharing your ideas!

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    1. I'm glad you find this site useful. :-)

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  29. In Sci-Fi a raft could be so different. Like a space raft that travels from one ship out to another or to a planet below. Cool post.

    Brandon Ax: Writer's Storm

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    1. Those are GREAT ideas! Thanks for sharing!

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  30. What caused your friend to drown in the rafting trip? That story's going to stick with me, I know! My husband lost a lot of friends in high school--most in car accidents. But one guy died when they were all jumping off cliffs and one guy jumped off and landed on another. The jumper snapped the neck of the person he landed on. I can't imagine what that must have been like for those who were there.

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    1. Me neither. How tragic! During our Easter celebration, some of the kids were enjoying taking turns beating at a piñata in hopes of breaking it in getting a heap of candy. But the stick broke and one and went flying. It hit me in the shoulder and I've got quite a bruise from it. I couldn't help but think three things – one, if I would've moved faster I want to have been hit at all. If I would've been a little slower, the jagged stick would've hit me in the artery of my neck instead of my shoulder, and third, if it would've went 20 inches to my left, it would've taken out the eyesight of a ninth-month-old baby. The good clean fun wasn't so fun after all. Luckily, no one got hurt badly, except for my bruised and sore shoulder; but it could have been worse. The game ended write quickly.

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  31. Great post! I'm so glad I found your blog. New follower here. I'm stopping by from the "A to Z" challenge, and I look forward to visiting again.

    Sylvia
    http://www.writinginwonderland.blogspot.com

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  32. Thank you for stopping by my Letter R post on CollectInTexas Gal and becoming a follower...now I am returning the visit and following. So glad to have found you and your great theme for the AtoZ Challenge. I will be back to catch up. As for the Raft as a focus/prompt...brilliant the way you fit it into each genre. Very creative and being able to draw from personal experience is something that every writer can use. Well done.
    Sue at CollectInTexas Gal

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  33. Thank you so much for following and leaving a note on my space! I love this, so you've got a new follower as well. :) And this ideas are great, I like the romantic and mystery ideas. This just came to mind for horror:
    "He told me about the raft that came up the river every night to take away people who wandered too close at midnight. I laughed and walked out the door anyway. He was drunk and talking nonsense. But that's when I saw it: the calm, peaceful river turning blood red in the soft light as a rough, wooden raft floated towards me. I looked down at my watch. It was midnight."

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    1. Wow. Thanks for the excellent prompt for horror!

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  34. I can see a raft used in fantasy, escaping from the enemy by taking to the river.

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  35. HI, Debi,

    Thanks for stopping by my blog today. Nice to meet you... Very interesting prop you chose today to use in so many different scenarios....

    Some EXCELLENT and powerful emotions here....

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  36. Hello again Debi. Wonderful ideas here. Put the oomph into the story!

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  37. Interesting concept with the body on the raft. My ideas about the killer and why this approach was used are certainly not positive ones. Enjoy your day Debi.

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    1. Feel free to share your ideas anyway. The world can't always be positive or where would we find conflict for stories? :-)

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  38. Murder and rafts - I really liked your idea for the mystery raft.

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  39. Rafts...I imagine deserted islands, adventure and thrills. I find it amazing how you keep inspiring, very generous nature you have!
    Maggie@expatbrazil

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    1. I love coming up with ideas really fast off the top of my head, and then seeing which ones spring to life.

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