A couple of weeks ago, I shared ideas about stakes versus conflict and the importance of making stakes and conflict both high and riveting. I also shared examples of pretexts that no one would care to read. Here is one:
Reginald just bought a private jet; but the air traffic controllers have gone on strike, meaning he will have to delay his vacation in Paris.
Believe it or not, after I wrote the post, I kept thinking about our dear Reginald. Surely he’s more exciting than he appears. So I thought it might be fun to make him more interesting.
This is all a front, and Reginald is on a secret mission?
The strike is fake?
The person Reginald is meeting under the guise of a vacation holds the key to everything?
Is that better? Are you more likely to want to know about Reginald now?
I also gave an example of Jane. She didn’t linger in my mind as much, but here she is:
Jane works for a congressman that her in-laws don’t care for, and they like to argue about it. She wishes for a better relationship. They live across the country, so she sees them once a year.
So here’s our fun for today. How would you make one or both of these characters interesting?
I can’t wait to see what all of you whip-smart authors write!
Lynette B Eason
Ohh…lol. My brain went nuts. What if Jane’s in-laws suddenly find out they’re moving to town? And not only that, but they’re going to have to live with Jane until they find a house. Only one week into the new living situation, Jane fakes a mental breakdown, deciding a psychiatric hospital will feel like a vacation. Only to get there and discover patients are disappearing? She has to either 1) escape or 2) figure out who’s making patients disappear and why before she ends up the next victim.
Jane works for a congressman that her in-laws don’t care for, because of his wife’s death under peculiar circumstances. Some say he murdered her and used the insurance settlement to launch his political career.
Damon J. Gray
Ooooooooo … I like this one!
Jane’s working for a congressman,
at least that’s what she said,
but her cheques are really coming from
the DC walking dead.
Her parents were unsettled
by that singular first meeting,
having all their mettle tested
when his hand fell off in greeting.
One can understand them
in their queasy hesitation
and fear for their petit belle femme,
but she’s helping save the nation.
At end, smiles will come from frowns
as zombies replace congress’ current clowns.
Reginald and his private jet
will save the world from crisis,
but he’s not in Paris yet,
and this could be worse than ISIS.
ATC is striking,
and French strikes you don’t break,
but the timing’s very fright’ning,
with the whole wide world at stake.
So Reggie’s got to get there,
putting caution on the shelf,
using all his wit and flair
to save culture from itself
in this ultimate courage-tester,
for Vuitton’s bringing back polyester.
The congressman Jane works for is secretly involved in dirty business/political dealings in a foreign country. While on a trip to that country with her boss, Jane witnesses, unobserved, the Congressman being assassinated. She’s on a run for her life, and her in-laws work feverishly to rescue her.
Aw, one more…
The congressman Jane works for
is a dubious employer;
her inlaws, they could see the score,
“He’s really bottom-drawer.
It’s not the clothes from TSC,
or the rusty truck he drives,
nor his duct-tape fixed TV,
nor his three-and-a-half ex-wives.
We don’t mind the saddle in the office
nor the Remington prints displayed.
For our hate his actions doth suffice;
did you see, he publicly PRAYED?
Such shame accrues to us and our son
that you work for a pro-life Republican.”
To give Reginald equal time…and I’m done. I promise.
Borne by his faithful Gulfstream V,
Paris-bound faithful Reginald,
to keep the hopes of man alive
on a dire and vital errand.
The French controllers returned to work,
the reasons for their strike forgotten,
theirs a higher duty not to shirk
the quest to set right something rotten.
The hopes of millions rode with him,
warming Reggie to the marrow,
as he inched out upon a limb
in pursuit of the noble Sparrow.
He swore to remedy Disney’s fix
and bring back Johnny Depp for ‘Pirates 6’.
Sharon K Connell
Jane had no idea her parents planned to move across the country and into the same town where she lived. The last time she spoke to them, she’d not mentioned her engagement to the one man in government they hated most. In her last conversation with Dad, he stated that the congressman was corrupt. Dad had found evidence to substantiate his statement. Should she call off the engagement? Or, could her father be mistaken? But even if he is, could she convince the man who never admitted wrong…he was?
Jane’s in-laws made her promise that if their son ever followed his silly dream of going into politics, she would kill him first. She agreed… but then she didn’t. She would, of course, after he was no longer useful to her. Effective terrorism requires inside knowledge.
The problem is, some other terrorist seems to be getting the same information ahead of her. When she risks a peek into her husband’s office, she discovers that there may be two terrorists in the family… the only question is: who?
Thanks, Tamela! This was great.
Tamela Hancock Murray
This was fun!!!!
Poor Jane… (what if… ) A naive intern works for a corrupt congressman and only her family knows this and disown her. Undeterred by their hate, she unwittingly crosses his boss, putting her family’s lives at risk. She must decide how much the money means by kowtowing to the corruption or saving family who hate her, even in the face of imprisonment.
Hours after the strike begins Reginald learns his fiancé has staged a corporate coup of the company he owns. If he doesn’t return home immediately Reginald will loose everything, which will inadvertently bring the town down with him. Included in his estate is the care of his mentally and physically disabled brother.
Angrily rushing through the airport, Reginald trips on a crying woman. Intrigued by her mumbling he concocts a plan.
Karen is a missionary pilot trying to get home for her brother’s funeral. He was killed in a military training accident.
If they can successfully evade detection to have Karen fly them out, both can reach their goal. Perhaps, however, the experience with Karen might change Reginald and his aethiest heart.
Reginald has just murdered his ex wife’s lover because he was a whistleblower for Reggie’s billionaire business. The whole world will soon know that Reginald is a human trafficker and he has to get out of the country before the cops find him. He’s told everyone ahead of time about his business trip to Paris but his real plans are to disappear into the African jungle with his secretary Jane who used to live there. But now the airline is on strike and how will he escape?
Jane’s family hates Reginald, a ruthless billionaire. They can’t figure out where all his money is coming from and they don’t trust him. They’re afraid for Jane’s life and now she’s going with him on a business trip to Paris, and refuses to stay at home for her brother’s funeral. He died suddenly and unexpectedly of heart failure even though he was in perfect health. Jane’s family owns the airport and quickly organizes a strike to prevent the couple from leaving. Things look mighty suspicious.
Jane’s boss is sexually harassing her (and he’s married) but Jane is making big money on a career fast track so she puts up with it. Jane’s in-laws know the congressman’s reputation and have an inkling what’s going on. They confronted her about it when she went on a trip with her married boss. Both Jane and her husband grew defensive, as they’re both focused on the money, and now keep their distance. But Jane’s in-laws plan to move closer to see the grandkids more often… and keep tabs on the situation.
Reginald bought the private jet with money from his latest ponzi scheme and is heading to Paris to outrun the heat as the whole thing unravels. Meanwhile, his lover and partner-in-crime cuts a deal with the FBI to save her own neck.
Reginald has to get the plane in the air. Before he could leave on vacation, he received a call that a lung had come available for his sister and he had to get her to the hospital. The trip could wait. She couldn’t. Without that lung, there is no hope. He makes the decision to take off in the plane though it may cost him everything. But taking off could not only cost him his job, but his life . . . and hers.
Jane works where her in-laws do not want her to. Their son died leaving her solely responsible for their two teenage children. The in-laws believe Washington,D.C. is a terrible place to raise the boys. Because the in-laws live so far away and do not see her daily life, they do not know that Jane in an undercover opperative who is involved in investigating a deep, far-reaching child pornography and sex slavery ring out of the office of the congressman. But when the in-laws start the process to have the boys taken away from Jane, she has a decision to make. Will she change jobs in order to protect her sons from her in-laws, or continue what she is doing to protect other young boys as well.
I love these kinds of prompts.