A Story Idea Each Day for a Month — Day 3

This is the 9th year in a row I’ve run this series in April. Why a story idea each day for the month? Several reasons which I’ll work my through during this series of posts. Here’s another one:

Being able to generate original story ideas sets you apart from writers who can’t.

Some writers can do it. Others can’t. The latter is resigned to doing adaptations, rewrites or taking a preexisting idea and writing that.

If you can develop solid skills at generating good story ideas, you give yourself a leg-up on your competition creating another opportunity to land writing gigs.

Today’s story idea: Threatened with imprisonment, cop flees and lives in the woods for 23 years.

If you’re not familiar with the NPR show “Snap Judgment”, you should make it part of your podcast family because it’s excellent.

Last night’s episode had a story which grabbed my attention:

Ex-Cop Robert Davis had two choices: Show up to court and serve a sentence that meant certain death… or find a way out.

Davis was a corrupt cop in New Orleans who eventually was exposed and sentenced to prison. Informed by other policemen that a group of prisoners, many of whom Davis himself had arrested, were planning a “special party” for him. Meaning: They were going to kill him.

What did Davis do? He fled to Canada. That began a 22 year odyssey in which Davis moved from one wilderness hide-out after another.

Imagine that: 22 years on the run living as a wilderness man.

That’s an amazing story and you can read more about how Davis has turned his life around by going here.

I suspect Davis has optioned his life rights to a producer… or maybe not. It might be worth a shot reaching out to him. But putting my producer’s hat on, I used those two powerful words for generating story ideas — What if… — and asked this question:

What if a dirty cop gets sentenced to a prison which houses a dozen guys he (the cop) was directly responsible for putting away? And they have a “special party” waiting for him? Instead of running, he ends up at that very prison.

I’m not that big of an Action genre person, so this is not a story I can write, but doesn’t it seem like a clean setup for a straight-ahead action movie? The Protagonist has to take out a series of violent criminals, always watching his back, in order to survive in prison.

Putting on my producer’s hat again, I think this change could help the story: The cop isn’t dirty, rather he was FRAMED by some criminal mastermind — probably a gang lord who’s serving time in prison — in order to gain revenge on the Protagonist. Now you’ve got a Protagonist vs. Nemesis scenario, plus the Nemesis minions. Revenge vs. Survival.

There you go: My third story idea for the month. And it’s yours. Free!

Day 1
Day 2

Each day this month, I invite you to click on RESPONSES and join me to do some further brainstorming. Take each day’s story idea and see what it can become when you play around with it. These are all valuable skills for a writer to develop.

See you in comments. And come back tomorrow for another Story Idea Each Day For A Month.