Ideas can’t be copyrighted, so these ideas are free for you to use.
U is for U-turn
A U-turn can work as the theme of your story, a crisis point, a simple object, or a jumping off area. For a fun little Romance, consider that when the hero makes a U-turn on Franklin Street in his mother’s car, he takes it so wide that he accidentally clips the bumper of the heroine’s parked car. She’s walking down her sidewalk just as it happens, about to leave for the gym. So now she marches up between his car and hers, all ready to get huffy, but the apologetic look in his seductive eyes draws her right in and her poised control crumbles.
Now they’ve met, and all you have to do is get them talking long enough to want to see each other again. Then throw in some nice little curves–her insurance company is suing his mother (owner of the car) for a bit more than the accident was really worth. Add to that, his nosy mother gives the heroine a call and doles out a piece of her mind. Throw in a few more obstacles and you’ll be well on your way to letting these two people fall hopelessly in love. After all, it always seems to be what we must fight for that we most appreciate in the end.
Mystery writers might incorporate a U-turn in their stories with the sleuth driving down the road, hot on the trail of his prime suspect, when he suddenly reconsiders something Sally had said. She’d mentioned the brief hour of rain around midnight last Wednesday, one that came down so hard it smashed the azaleas lining her house. The sleuth is thinking Sally wouldn’t have known exactly which night the rain came so hard, and at what time, when she was supposedly visiting her mother then in Iowa for three days.
The storm damage could have happened while she was gone, but who would actually look in a newspaper or online to discover specifically which night and time her flowers had been ruined during her absence? No. Sally wasn’t gone anywhere. She was right here in Pokey Town, jabbing a knife into Horrace’s chest. Upon that realization, your sleuth makes a U-turn and heads back to town. First stop–Sally’s house.
Literary. Many literary stories are U-turns in themselves, or structured like a U-turn. Consider a guy who plows ahead in a certain direction until some event happens that affects him in a way that causes a change. If it’s a negative impact, he might head right back to his starting point. You can look at that as almost a circular journey, and literary works usually are, because they reflect life in a defining manner. It gives us a certain perspective on the psyche oh humanity.
Think about Alzheimer’s, a topic I’m using in one of my short stories. In a way, the disease mimics a U-turn. Where was your character headed before the disease affected him in such a way that he started going in reverse, reliving moments long past? This is a U-turn in life. It happens, and when it does, it evokes powerful emotions that affect everyone around the afflicted. Your story might evolve best through the reactions of those witnessing another character’s diminished power of chronological thought, and the acknowledgement that we could all be there someday. Some witnesses might look at it as a troublesome, albeit unique, venture in life that many are forced to take. What joys can still be had during this time? That’s worth analyzing, and that analysis will give you the seeds to a powerful story.
A story for Young Adults involving a U-turn might be plotted like this: if Kirby hadn’t been in such a hurry, if he hadn’t thought Tyler was in danger of suicide–because of Tyler’s voice message on Kirby’s cell phone, Kirby would have never made a U-turn on Highway 16. He would’ve never gotten a speeding ticket, never got grounded, and he would’ve never had the keys to the car taken away.
Some Joke, Kirby thinks, after he finally gets a hold of Tyler, who laughs endlessly and reminds Kirby that it’s April Fools’ Day. Kirby is not laughing. “Because of your stupid prank, I don’t have wheels to take Lacey out this weekend, and I’m grounded for a frickin’ month!” That’s what Kirby is still fuming about when he gets another message from Tyler, a text this time. And it’s another threat of suicide. What the heck? Enough is enough already. Kirby isn’t going to fall for it twice. But, what if this time …
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.