Yesterday, an ambulance passed me with flashers on. I started driving behind them. In Michigan an ambulance can only drive 10 miles per hour over the speed limit, and most people drive about 5 miles over the speed limit anyway. They had to slow down as they approached red lights; I kept catching the green, so I followed them for several miles. Can a story be had here? Let's see.
It seems to me that ambulance chasing can make a good story idea. Two ideas come to mind right away; 1) lawyers, and 2) reporters. Neither of these ideas particularly appeal to me, I want to see if I can make intriguing stories out of them anyway. We have part of the setting already, should I now begin on plot or character? A lot of that is personal preference, and some of it depends on whether you want a single feature or a series of some sort. Let's do one of each.
Let's make the reporter a series. What type of character do we want? I am going to start with someone that is an up-and-comer, that appeals to me right now. What are some hopes and dreams, and fears?
A young reporter dreams of being recognized and respected. Spurned by the entire media industry in his town for his lack of education and disregard for authority, he strikes out on his own. A friend helps him hack into an online stream of the police radio; he arrives to scenes as fast as the paramedics, police, and firemen. He fears that the police will find out how he is illegally getting his information, or the government will restrict his website, or the media companies in his town will use their power, money, and corruption to crush him. His only hope is to break a big story first and prove them all wrong.
I like that, I am intrigued by that. That just might make a good series in some medium. Now, let's try a plot driven story with the lawyer.
A successful law partner is on his way to the office in the morning. Something crazy happens with an ambulance in front of him. He gets involved in some way and gets dragged into a situation that is horrible for him. Mobilizing all of his resources he is able to snatch success from the jaws of catastrophe.
Let's see if we can add in the crazy happenings and the somethings.
A successful law partner is on his way to the office in the morning. He pulls over to let an ambulance pass and soon catches up with it. While he is stopped waiting for the police to clear the accident he sees what may be some sort of scuffle in the back of the accident. At the office he can't get it out of his mind and decides to look into it. The man died; how could a man that was able to fight while getting into the ambulance die before getting to the hospital? As he looks into it further he finds that the victim has a shaded past and had done some work for a few of his other clients, but it is unknown what type of work he did. It seems that the man might have had ties with a few criminal organizations, but why do his clients have ties to him? His daughter comes home with a note telling him to look after his own. Never one to bow to intimidation tactics he sends his wife and daughter to live with his sister-in-law and dives full force into the investigation. His car has trouble, he is beaten, his firm's bank account is frozen, two clients leave, a partners son is beaten. Maybe he has started a fight that he can't win, one that reaches too high into the echelons of power. Finally, he is forced to violate his own principles, to use the information that he is privileged to have in his position to get his way. Through the immoral means of blackmail he is able to topple the corruption that has grown up around him in his town. His success and wealth has grown, his family is safe and respects him even more, but he still wonders; do the ends justify the means?
That seems decent, I struggled in working it out. All of this, basically all of my blog posts, are stream of consciousness, so I am sure it could be improved. I like the idea of the reporter more, it intrigues me more, but I feel there is a lot of potential in the lawyer plot as well. Maybe I will do something more with these in the future. You are welcome to join me and see at JeffreyAlexanderMartin.com