I have an idea for a story, but the plot hinges on having one of the characters go and do something for a year and not be able to receive any communications (written, electronic, phone and so on) during that time.
The “something” is stumping me. What sort of thing could one do for a whole year that’d not let them have contact with others? Even people in space can get info from earth now a days… can anyone think of a situation that’d fit before I strand the guy on an island or something equally silly?
Solo trek across Antarctica?
being detained by the Chinese government on Hainan island?
[li]Gets in car wreck and is found by insane former nurse. (Misery)[/li][li]Wanders around in woods aimlessly not ten miles from a major highway. (Blair Witch Project)[/li][li]Gets on a boat for a three-hour cruise. (Gilligan’s Island)[/li][li]Takes the next Federal Express flight across the Pacific Ocean. (Cast Away)[/li][/ul]
You just have to look through popular fiction of the last 20-30 years to find tons of reasons a person might conceviably be rendered incommunicado for a year or so. Maybe your character was running drugs in Columbia and survived an encounter with a Columbian jet fighter. Perhaps he took a sloppy shit on the flag of Lybia and managed to escape from prison into the desert after just under eleven months, giving him forty days and forty nights to find an American embassy. You have plenty of options, but the deciding factors will be what kind of character your lost character is and the setting of your novel.
BTW, post the title of your novel if you ever get it printed. I’d like to know which plot device you decided to choose, and how it fits with the story in general.
Is it an adventure story? Then you could have him held hostage by guerrillas in Kashmir in exchange of a jailed Islamic mullah, kidnapped and held for ransom in Tijuana by a drug lord, fake his death to avoid an indictment for insider trading, fake his death to collect on a million dollar insurance premium (for a worthwhile cause), or detained during a military coup d’etat in the Ivory Coast.
Or if the story isn’t an adventure, well all I can come up with is he signed up on AOL and couldn’t get connected to anyone for a year…
Actually, it will be a short, dramatic story. I probably won’t go into a lot of detail about what he’s doing, because the real story will be about what happens when he comes back. Unfortunately, I’m something of a realist, so I want/need a plausable reason for him being out of the picture for a whole year. I like the suggestions people have given, they’re more than I’ve come up with so far! Thanks.
If what he did over the course of that time isn’t important, as a somewhat hackneyed device, he could’ve been in a coma.
Is it necessary the isolation have been accidental or happenstance? If not, people do deliberately remove themselves from “civilized” contact, as difficult as that may be to conceive of for the average internet message board-goer. Move to a cabin somewhere, no phone or electronics, just a generator if that for heat, eating canned food and just going into a small town “nearby” every month or so just to pick up more groceries, then heading back. Doesn’t have to be some survivalist type–a fitter-than-usual fellow with a fresh (maybe failed) English degree, trying to do his own modern version of Walden, f’r’instance.