For those who weren’t in attendance, Simon had a fantastic workshop on using news articles to plot stories. His example was “The Dark Day:” On May 19, 1780, a strange event turned morning to night. The skies darkened around noon—forcing people in New England & parts of eastern Canada to use candles for light—and didn’t let up until the next morning. For the past 200+ years, scientists & historians have debated the origins of this unusual event.
Simon gave us ten minutes to plot out ideas for a story where this event was the central focus. Story ideas included:
Adam – The hellfire club is burned to the ground. As the investigation into the fire develops, detectives are left wondering if the debauched & depraved acts committed in the pub is the reason behind the dark day…a wrath of God act…
Christina – The sun, growing bored and wanting to have some fun, decides to blink slowly & causes all kinds of catastrophes.
Hal – A mad scientist is mucking about with gravity and land space, and tests out a new weapon/device capable of lifting entire states & provinces from the earth.
Linda – a movie/novel that would follow the lives of 5 different people and how the day affected them, including an elderly woman who was afraid of driving, drove that morning, and was in a car accident.
Natasha – a Romeo/Juliet adaptation involving a sentient race of cloud-like beings…Juliet sacrifices herself in the cloud cover to save Romeo, but both are able to escape to Jupiter.
Skyla & Jodene – Superheroes who are testing their new powers of extreme strength, ESP, and time-space compression, accidently jump back to 1780, change the rotation of the solar system, and can’t figure out how to fix their mistake.
Torian (sp?) – His novel focuses on the aftermath—as people try to remember and write their experiences in the 1780s, then when it happens again in 2012, the experiences intermingle…
I hope I didn’t miss anyone & please feel free to correct if I misremembered your plot.
What do you think happened on that day? How could you use the event to inspire your writing? Post a comment and let us know.
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