A Story Idea Each Day for a Month — Day 6

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:

Around 1990, writer Stephen Brill came up with this idea: “A self-centered lawyer is sentenced to community service coaching a rag tag youth hockey team.” That eventually became the movie The Mighty Ducks. That seemingly innocuous family comedy grossed $51M, not bad for a movie with a reported $10M budget.

Then came D2: The Mighty Ducks. Then D3: The Mighty Ducks. Then “Mighty Ducks”, a TV series. Then Mighty Ducks the Movie: The First Face-Off, a DTV animated movie. And then came this:

The Anaheim Ducks [formerly the Anaheim Mighty Ducks]. An NHL franchise. A professional franchise worth an estimated $188M.

All based on the fact that one day, a writer was walking around and came up with a story idea about a youth hockey team named the Mighty Ducks.

As I said… in Hollywood, story ideas are worth gold.

Today’s story idea: All Hail the New Ruler of England: Young Girl Finds Sword in Lake From King Arthur Legend.

Seven year-old Matilda Jones with sword she discovered: Heir to the crown of England?
Hear that? That’s the sound of a new ruler of England being chosen in traditional Arthurian-era fashion: by finding a sword in a lake.
Young Matilda Jones was out on a walk with her father out near Dozmary Pool in Cornwall, which is, supposed to be the very same body of water where the legendary King Arthur left Excalibur after he was fatally wounded after a battle. The Lady of the Lake took the sword back, and it has remained there ever since, according to the legend. But that legend may need an update, as Jones ended up spotting a sword as she was wading around in the lake. Paul, her father, recounted the discovery, saying, “I told her not to be silly and it was probably a bit of fencing, but when I looked down I realised it was a sword. It was just there laying flat on the bottom of the lake.”

More background from the Daily Mirror:

Legend has it that King Arthur first received Excalibur from the Lady of Lake in Dozmary Pool after rowing out to receive it.
After being mortally wounded he asked to be taken there so he could return the sword to her.
After three attempts, his loyal follower Bedivere cast it into the water and the Lady of the Lake’s arm rose to receive it.
The pool, in the civil parish of Altarnun on Bodmin Moor, was said to be bottomless until droughts in 1859 and 1976 dried it out completely and revealed it is, in fact, and shallow pond.
Matilda shares her name with Empress Matilda, the daughter of King Henry I and heir to the English throne in the 12th century.

Okay, stumbling upon a sword in a lake where legend has it King Arthur had returned Excalibur as he was mortally wounded… that’s one coincidence. But the fact the young girl who discovered it — Matilda — shares the exact name as an 12th century Empress?

Can you say… FATE?

Sure, it’s probably a film prop, maybe from this King Arthur:

Graham Chapman as King Arthur in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”

But what if it WERE the actually Excalibur? Matilda’s discovery has spawned some fan art:

Feels like the setup of a modern day fantasy, the sword whooshing young Matilda away to Middle Ages where she is recognized as Queen.

Or… what if… it’s not a fantasy at all, but rather the sword is tested by experts and found to be from the 12th century. The U.K. is in such a state of upheaval and the citizens so riled up about the dismal state of politics, a movement arises to have Matilda assume the throne. Not as Queen, but as KING!

Amidst the whirlwind of publicity which sweeps the country and controversy over the authenticity of the sword as well as Matilda’s right to the throne (“A girl… as KING?!?!”), you have a young child and her family attempting to deal with the onslaught of attention.

I envision a scene in which Matilda meets Queen Elizabeth. Indeed, they could have a quite nice subplot — let’s say Matilda’s mother has died in the last few years — in which these ‘rivals’ forge a relationship together.

Matilda’s child-like wisdom could actually inspire people, overcoming the current wave of cynicism, something in the vein of Chance in Being There:

There it is: King Matilda. My sixth story idea for the month. And it’s yours. Free!

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5

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.