Archive for category Repurposing

SPT: Awake on a Beach

Here’s a thought experiment:*

You find yourself coming to awareness, the above being the first things you see.

How did you get there? (Hike in for camping? Teleported in? Jumping [think multiverse/alternate world]? Some sort of crash? Something else…?)
Why are you there? (Vacation? Recon? Running from…something or someone? Something seemingly random**? Something else…?)
What’s you backstory/context? (Soldier? Scientist? Weekend-warrior outdoorsman? Something else…?)

Now, what happens next?

* This will be a repeating idea, but with different images, because it can be fun. For an example of a story that essentially STARTS this way, read Andy Weir’s The Martian. The movie, while excellent, does Hollywood things to the sequence of events, so read the original for this.
** Weird genetic things come to mind, where it seems random at the time, but gets explained at some point during the grand scheme of events. Outlander, or Charles Stross’s Merchant Princes series for example.

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SPT: Island in the Stream 28 July 2016


While you can work this image into any kind of story, my initial reaction is for a fantasy setting, which will flavor some of my questions below…

Let’s do some world building:

What is this place? What is around it (beyond the scope of the picture)? A remote stretch of distant coastline, or along the shore of a huge lake or inlet? If it’s a stretch of coast, is this when the tide is low, or high? Is it’s location a guarded secret, common knowledge, or a suggested idea (“there was this place, but no one’s been there in years…” sort of thing)? How might someone get to this place?

What’s with the “island” in the center? (Stretch the scale.) What else might be there, besides the tree?

Now, why might someone go to this place? (My initial thought was a wizard’s keep on the “island”, but it could be some other recluse with information, or an outpost, or simply lost.)

What happens when the person gets here? Is this really where they wanted to be, or are they a few miles off? Or is there some kind of illusion masking what might truly be there? How does the person react – both upon arrival, and as their time there unfolds.

Then what happens?

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SPT: Abandoned in a Gully

Let’s do some world building:

Consider the above… What was it? What is it now? (Besides a “ruin” – is someone or something squatting in it? Using it for illicit activities? Or just for hiding out, a personal safe zone/secret place?) What’s around it, beyond the scope of the picture? How might someone get to this place? Is it’s location a guarded secret, common knowledge, or a suggested idea (“there was this place, but no one’s been there in years…” sort of thing).

Now, consider a character. What is their relationship to the place? Why might they go there (see suggestions above, or go with something different)? If it’s a new place for the character, what is their reaction when they find it? When they explore it?

Depending on the relationship they have, what happens when someone or something else arrives?

Now write that…

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SPT: Maintenance

What kind of craft is that – a fighter? A scout? Is it built for distance, or to be kept close to larger bases? How many crew?

Consider the background of the image. Others of the craft van be seen in through the haze. Is this part of a fleet/military site, or a “commuter” landing pad at an outpost/space port?

Now, consider the individuals standing around the craft. Are they flight crew, or ground crew prepping for the pilot. What are they preparing for?

Then what happens?

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SPT: Awake in Dark Woods

Here’s a thought experiment:*

You find yourself coming to awareness, the above being the first things you see.

How did you get there? (Hike in for camping? Teleported in? Jumping [think multiverse/alternate world]? Some sort of crash? Something else…?)
Why are you there? (Vacation? Recon? Running from…something or someone? Something seemingly random**? Something else…?)
What’s you backstory/context? (Soldier? Scientist? Weekend-warrior outdoorsman? Something else…?)

Now, what happens next?

* This will be a repeating idea, but with different images, because it can be fun. For an example of a story that essentially STARTS this way, read Andy Weir’s The Martian. The movie, while excellent, does Hollywood things to the sequence of events, so read the original for this.
** Weird genetic things come to mind, where it seems random at the time, but gets explained at some point during the grand scheme of events. Outlander, or Charles Stross’s Merchant Princes series for example.

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SPT: Winter Woods

For those in the picture above, winter is here*, which means a whole other world of challenges.

Who are they? Are they just three people out, or are there more “off-screen”? [If there are more – are these three a scout party, or stragglers at the end?]

Why are they in the woods, anyway? And in winter? Are they lost? Heading home? Heading for battle?

Then what happens? Now write it…

 

First impressions:
The prologue/opening of Game of Thrones, naturally, is one of the first examples that comes to mind.

But, think of possible historical examples: the American Revolution – the harsh winter conditions and the struggle for survival before the tide turned. French forces leading into Waterloo (or, perhaps, stragglers after). Or, how about the Christmas Truce of 1914 (just sans firearms)?

 

* I wanted to make a more specific Game of Thrones reference there, for anyone caught up – technically, I’m not, but I’ve watched the last few episodes of Season 6. I thought, however, that to do so might really change how people approached the image. Doesn’t change the fact that the reference is still there…

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SPT: Outpost

What is this place? What is it used for? Why would someone be sent here? Is the assignment a choice? (If so, why would someone opt for it?) How many are here, normally? Now, how many are here for the sake of the story (and why)?

Now…how do things change? (Or, how do things get worse?)

Then what happens?

Now write it…

A few examples this prompt suggests/reminds me of:

  • The Martian – One man, let for dead when a research mission gets scrapped, has to survive until he can be rescued.
  • Game of Thrones – Jon Snow going to the Wall/joining the Night’s Watch, to establish his own abilities/identity away from his “bastard” status
  • Pitch Black – An ship crashes on a remote planet, finding an outpost abandoned two decades before, only to discover why it became abandoned – right as the phenomenon is due to happen again.

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SPT: Into the Storm


This vaguely suggests something to me related to my current WIP, which in turn is suggesting a prompt more about world-building before character.

Consider the craft on the left: How big is it? (Is it a transport? Shuttle-sized? Think orders of scale, compared to the planet below.) How fast can it travel? What is it used for? How many people are on board (or, how many can it hold)?

How dense is the cloud cover, normally? Is that hole in the cloud a fixed phenomena, or from some other event? What about the ground cover? Does it thin out the closer to the lightning point?

Now, for the characters: Are they going for research, to check out the phenomenon, or the impact of the “other event*” on the area, or to stop it? Is this journey a “random” discovery, or a plot point later in the story? If you didn’t establish it earlier – how many people are on the craft?

Now what happens?

 

* “Other event” – like the planet-destroying weapon of the Abrams Star Trek, or the space bridges from G-1 Transformers cartoons, to name a few…

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SPT: Craft in Transit

Are the crafts landing, or leaving? Why? What do they represent (colonization, exodus, or something else)?

The people in the foreground, what is their reaction? They appear to be nomadic, or on a journey, at least – seeking the ships, or to avoid them?

Consider the two central figures – what appears to be a man and a little girl. What is their relationship (Father/daughter? Guardianship? Other?)?

I’m going to suggest a multiple POV experiment, here. First, pick one of the two central figures [simply because they seem to suggest the best story, choose a different one if you wish]. Next, create someone to represent the ships. What is the point of conflict between the two? Now spin out the threads of that story.

Three examples:
My first impressions:
A) the ships represent the arrival of some nefarious force, and the people are part of a resistance movement, trying to get to a safe haven before the ships land.
B) The world is dying, and the ships represent the chance to escape, and the party is trying to catch the last flights out.

But after a little consideration…
What if there is some one or thing that needs to be found, and has been traced to this planet and the ships represent corporate power vs the small group. [see: Ready Player One or The Force Awakens]

Now go write…

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SPT: Derelict?

Let’s spin out a scenario, first, instead of going to the characters.

What is the big thing on the right: a ship? Space Station? Giant mecha floating in space? Consider the scattered debris in the picture: is it related to the thing on the right, or is it just space junk that happens to be in the same (rough) orbit?

Now, the craft on the right – by comparison the the thing on the right, it looks more like a shuttle. Is it? Is there a larger craft it might have come from – a rescue or scouting mission, perhaps – or is it a fully functional cruiser in its own right (think the Mil Falcon)? Why are they there? If not a rescue or scouting mission, what else?

If you haven’t already been thinking about it, this is where we start exploring the characters – depending on the relationship made between the objects will influence the kind of story you’re leaning toward and type of characters you might need. Mil SF? Space Opera? Horror/Ghost Story?

Now…continue to ask the questions, and write.

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