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.