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Writer's Edge: Brainstorming Technique - Unintended Consequences

Unintended Consequences

This brainstorming technique is most often found in the science fiction or adventure genre. It consists of a set up, then something goes terribly wrong and the characters have to deal with the resulting unintended consequences and aftermath.

In the film The Fly, Jeff Goldblum is a scientist doing mutation experiments on himself. During one experiment, a common housefly enters the booth where he's working, resulting in him turning into a grotesque half man — half fly mutation.

In the family movie, Honey I shrunk the Kids, another scientist has created a laser-like machine that miniaturizes objects. When the contraption is inadvertently shined on his children, they get shrunk to the size of mice. The adventure is watching them try to get from the yard back into their house to make their father aware of what's happened and to return them back to normal size.

The same kind of sequence of events occurs in the Steven Spielberg blockbuster, Jurassic Park. Scientists have successfully cloned dinosaurs and plan to exhibit them to the public in a wild animal prehistoric-type of zoo. The dinosaurs break out of their protective surroundings and create havoc, threatening the people there to preview the park's amazing attractions.

To use this technique, introduce the audience to the norm, throw in a major flaw or omission, then let all hell break loose because of it.

Get more brainstorming tips from Jeff Kitchen's DVC,
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