What’s a Seaplane Doing in the Middle of the Road?

By Laura Christianson

“I can’t think of anything to write about.”

When I taught high school English, my students frequently moaned about the lack of interesting things to write about.

My standard response: I’d challenge them to keep their eyes and ears open and to ask questions about everything they see and hear.

When I was driving near my home, I spotted the perfect story starter:

Seaplane

I’ve never had to pull to the side of the road to make way for a seaplane. In fact, I’ve never seen a seaplane being towed down the highway!

This scene has the makings for a good mystery/suspense story or an intriguing blog post.

I started asking questions:

  • Who owns this seaplane?
  • Why is it being towed down the highway?
  • Where is it headed?
  • Where’d it come from?
  • Is there water nearby where this plane will be docked?
  • How am I going to get past this monstrosity?

The scenery provides ideas for more story elements:

  • “Dead End” sign to the left of the plane
  • Tall hedge on the right side of the road
  • Beige shed behind the plane
  • Long, lonely road between the truck and the photographer

From what viewpoint could I write the story?

  • Pickup driver
  • My own (driver of car approaching the pickup)
  • Person hiding in cockpit of seaplane
  • Unseen bystander or omniscient narrator who’s observing the scene unfold

What potential conflicts could I develop based on this scene?

  • Kidnapping (pickup driver is leader of a drug-smuggling cartel. His seaplane is loaded with kilos of illegal drugs, which he’s attempting to spirit out of the U.S. into Canada. He kidnaps me, the unwitting witness of his dastardly deed).
  • Crash (truck towing seaplane crashes into oncoming driver).
  • High-speed chase (seaplane is, in reality, not being towed at all but is taxi-ing down the makeshift runway with police cruisers in hot pursuit. Unsuspecting driver of uncoming car gets caught in the cross-fire).

Apply this technique to blogging

  1. Approach everyday life (or in this case, not-so-everyday) with an open mind, and you’ll never run out of things to blog about.
  2. Use the basic principles of journalistic writing and answer the 5 Ws and the H questions: Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How).
  3. Brainstorm different approaches you can use for creatively telling your story.
  4. Change up your POV. You don’t always have to write blog posts from the first-person “I” point of view or the second person “you” POV. Try writing a blog post as a conversation, or as a short story and see how it works.

Take the story-starter challenge

Using the seaplane photo, write the first sentence or paragraph a blog post. Share it with us in the Comments area.

  • Ane Mulligan

    Things went horribly wrong when I took a wrong turn into the Bermuda Triangle.

  • Ane Mulligan

    Things went horribly wrong when I took a wrong turn into the Bermuda Triangle.

  • Ha! Good one, Ane! That has some fun possibilities.

  • Ha! Good one, Ane! That has some fun possibilities.

  • An unusual scene that could change your day. 🙂

  • An unusual scene that could change your day. 🙂