Story idea

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    John S Alty

    I woke this morning with an idea for a short story/novella. It’s not something I’d tackle so I thought I’d put it out there for anyone looking for a new project:

    Two women have taken on the challenge of rowing across the Atlantic for a charity – say, breast cancer awareness – and have acquired the necessary sponsorship, had a boat built and have set off. Needless to say, they are fit and strong but how are they mentally? Halfway across, perhaps a couple of weeks after departure, at a point very far from land, they encounter a man in a deflating liferaft. His sailboat has sunk and he’s taken to the liferaft which is old and perished and won’t be afloat for much longer. The girls have to take him aboard. What happens next?
    The man is good looking, personable and very grateful for being rescued. The girls are glad to have helped him but a bit miffed that he will slow them down, consume rations (water being particularly important) and will intrude on their privacy. Space is tight, even for the two women. They had fallen into a rhythm of day-to-day life that involved rowing, eating, drinking, sleeping. Toilet is a bucket. They had, hitherto, rowed naked. Now they have a man aboard. How will this change things?
    The boat has a handheld VHF radio, completely useless for communicating with the shore but can contact the very occasional passing ship. They had a satellite phone for long distance communication but early on in the trip it dropped unnoticed from its holder into the wet bilge and no longer functions. This is still a source of acrimony between the two women.
    Will all three of them reach shore alive? Will they have become best mates? Will the man’s presence exacerbate a simmering dislike between the women? A bit like three sharing a flat, isn’t it? Two always gang up against the other.

    Many such Atlantic rowing challenges have been completed and specialised boats developed, so there’s a lot of research material available. Have at it. If it becomes a blockbuster movie I want to audition for the part of the man.


    What a great crucible of an idea. I can see it as a film too.

    Philippa East

    Ooo, it’s a bit like an updated spin on Dead Calm!

    BTW – don’t assume you won’t write this idea. I almost gave an idea once… but then realised actually I wanted to write it myself!

    John S Alty

    I couldn’t do this idea justice. The right person could really build the tension and explore the changing relationships of the three characters as the story builds. Interesting project for someone, but not me.

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