• Jessica Sherry

5+ Plot Ideas for Morning Rush Hour

Morning rush hour. Your main character sits in traffic, checking the clock on the dashboard every minute while half-listening to the local morning talk show. Life isn't bad for your MC--something she muses over to stave off frustration while waiting for the light to turn green and the long string of traffic to move. She has achieved the happiness trifecta: a rewarding career, plenty of money, and a meaningful relationship with her stable, equally accomplished boyfriend. Radio celebrities Milo and Baby Chris catch her attention (these are my stock radio personalities, so I've used them already; you should invent your own). They're about to do a phone prank, something she's enjoyed before. A longtime girlfriend is pranking her boyfriend by getting Milo to call the house posing as a hotel manager to confirm a romantic weekend getaway, complete with a couples' massage, dinner reservations, and a horseback riding excursion. The problem is... he's working all weekend. These plans aren't with him!

"We've been together for ten years," the girlfriend explains, "with no ring to show for it. This prank'll push him out of the comfortable rut we're in... I hope."

Your MC shakes her head, glad she'd never be the type to resort to such desperate tactics to get her boyfriend to commit. Yikes.

The light changes. Slowly, your MC moves forward. The call is made. Your MC hears a familiar voice over the speakers. Her face pinches slightly. Gosh, that sounds just like my... She gasps and slams on the brakes. This woman's boyfriend is her boyfriend!

What happens next... well... could be anything. A traffic accident. A confrontation. A revenge story. A murder. A feel-good reinvention. A new romance. A big shock in the middle of a mundane activity, like going to work, could lead to thousands of compelling stories.

And morning radio can be used in other ways too, not just to reveal a cheating partner. Consider these ideas using morning radio for plot development:

  • A news report. Something important to your MC's been defunded, voted against, repealed.

  • Another news report. Someone's been killed, released, exonerated, brought up on charges.

  • A traffic report. Your MC is diverted into unknown territory. Or perhaps she's stuck. She misses the big meeting because she's parked outside a weird convenience store or some other interesting place.

  • Yet another news report. Her stocks have tanked. A meteor heads to the earth. Somehow the world--or at least her world--skids into catastrophe.

  • A strange, but alluring commercial calls to her so strongly that she forgets work to patronize the dealership, farm, store, doctor's office, salon, whatever.

  • A song plays that reminds her of her high school sweetheart, and when the song ends, Milo gives the name of the artist--and it's him!

So many unexpected things can happen during our otherwise mundane must-dos, like driving to work. If you don't know where to start, put your MC into one of these tedious, normal life activities and then yank the rug right out from under her, propelling her and your readers into an awesome story.

What morning rush hour antics can you devise for your main character? Share your ideas below!

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