Easter contains so many themes to inspire stories. Last year I wrote about how the drama of Holy Week could be adapted for a storyline. This year I wanted to focus on the theme of resurrection which leads to change.
Pretending to kill off a character only to have him return may be the most dramatic plot twist a writer can use. One of my favorite Sherlock Holmes stories is “The Empty House”. In it, Holmes reveals to Watson that he didn’t die battling Professor Moriarty at Reichenbach Falls. In The Lord of the Rings, Gandalf the Grey’s resurrection as Gandalf the White is a major plot point.
Survival stories are a good way to use the resurrection theme without it seeming contrived. The extreme demands of a hostile environment on a character provide reasons for the character to reevaluate her life and, if she lives, to return to her old life changed for the better or worse.
I love survival stories, both fiction and nonfiction. In January, I featured the story of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s expedition to Antarctica, one of history’s epic survival stories. I recently watched a little-known survival movie from 1953 that is a great example of how the struggle to survive changes the main character.
In Inferno, a wealthy husband and wife and the husband’s business partner are traveling on horseback in the Mojave desert, looking for a mineral deposits. When the husband falls and breaks his legs, the wife and partner say they will send help. But instead, they mislead the authorities with a false trail, leaving the husband to die. The husband becomes determined to make it back to civilization and exact his revenge.
Because the husband is alone, we learn his thoughts through voice–over narration and can follow the change in his character. The actor portraying husband, Robert Ryan, is so skilled that his expressions and body language perfectly accompany his narration. (It’s also a great visual example of the writing concept “Deep POV” but that’s for another post.)
How can Easter inspire your writing?