Sticking to a Schedule: Plot Development
Okay, so these ideas might sound a little Hallmark-y, but I've been toying with plots centering around recurring events--anything that brings people together repeatedly. Sparking romance is the most obvious outcome of these event-springboards (hence, Hallmark-y), but clearly whatever you write, you make it your own--romance or otherwise. How about a suspenseful obsession story? A great mystery can be inspired, too.
Here's a list of recurring events as a premise for story building:
Check-ups, dentist appointments, scheduled routine car maintenance, any appointment that repeats. With my daughter's ortho appointments, I've noticed some of the same people in the waiting room, probably because the pattern of our appointments matched up for a time. It could be a way for people to meet.
Hot-tempered competitions, especially anything that keeps going, like regionals, states, nationals... battles, redemptions, championships... Food competitions come to mind (I watch a lot of Food Network)--BBQ battles, Chopped, Cupcake Wars--but those might be too obvious these days. What about a dog show or beauty pageant?
Festivals. We have many of those in the South. Coronavirus aside, during the spring and summer, there's a festival every weekend--Blueberry, Seafood, Azalea, and so on.
Conferences. An annual conference brings people together from all over the country with that profession, hobby, interest in common. With a year between them, much can change, too. Maybe Bob hit the cocktails hard, leading to an embarrassing scene involving pool tools, shrimp, and hotel security at one conference only to turn it all around and achieve MVP at the next.
Reunions--high school, college, family all provide innate drama. Unique reunions would be even more interesting. Childhood friends, disbanded clubs, victims and/or survivors of a traumatic event.
Campaigns & Elections. Tristan was devastated when his candidate lost the mayoral seat, but the results would be different this time. He'd make sure of it. OR. Serving on the board of elections seemed the perfect way to beef up Jennifer's community service on her resume. It's only one day, after all. How hard could it be? OR. Thomas stared at the threatening letter, unsure what to do. Showing the campaign manager would only put her and everyone else on high alert, forcing them to pull back instead of push forward, which was probably the author's intention. And they were so close. What's one menacing letter to a woman about to be senator?
Seasonal work. Christmas, other holidays, summers.
Death date in common. A little morbid, perhaps, but losing a loved one on the same day could bring people to the same place year after year.
Shooting a TV show that keeps getting picked up season after season despite predictions otherwise or a movie that continues to make sequels could bring the same groups of people together repeatedly (fans or actors or crew). It would also impact a location--like a small town that keeps getting put in the limelight because the show or movie is shot there.
Clubs. On my writer's to-do list: A moms' walking club steps out of their routine to investigate the suicide of a park regular. There can be a club for anything, which provides loads of opportunities. Weekly, monthly, quarterly... bring some odd characters together and watch the magic that happens. Oh, could be a magic club.
Another benefit to a scheduled, recurring event serving as a premise for a story is that the timeline is built in. Plotting becomes easier with a framework to build from, slightly easier, at least.
How about you? What recurring events could be the catalyst for your story?