|| WORKS OR DOESN'T WORK?
Student #1: There's a big
green box in the attic at Grandma's house. Little Suzie knows she's never
to go in the attic, and especially never to open that box. Through the
story, Suzie obsesses over the big green box, and ultimately decides she
must know what's in there.
|| WORKS. The big green box is
in the attic, and is the focal point of the story. Without it, we have
no story; Suzie's life would go on normally.
Student #2: A quiet little neighborhood is put into turmoil by the
arrival of a national big-box store chain. It's a gardening center
called Shrubbz, and the residents don't want this ugly green building to
open up in their neighborhood. They fight against the retailer opening
up on the NIMBY principle, but come to realizations in the end that
change their way of thinking.
|| WORKS. The big green box
is the store that is opening. Without it, we have no story; life
would go as usual in the neighborhood.
| Student #3: The protagonist is
John, a big man (the BIG) who is sick of working for his employer, Mr.
Green (the GREEN). He receives a box in the mail (BOX) that says he has
won a trip to Hawaii, but Mr. Green won't let him go. The story is Big
John's battle with Mr. Green about the trip he won from the box.
|| DOESN'T WORK. He has included
someone big, someone green, and a box. But there is no one thing
that clearly is the big green box, or that reflects the idea of a
big green box.
HOW COULD IT WORK? If
John received a big green box in the mail, that could be the thing
that drives the story (since the box really does anyway).
Student #4: There's an old man who drives an old, beat-up, delivery truck,
one of those straight box trucks. It's faded and rusting out, but it's
easy to see it used to be painted green from when he was a younger man.
Now it's just him, trying to eke out a living for himself. The
protagonist, who as a child teased and tormented the man, grows up a bit
as a teenager and wishes to atone for his misdeeds. He organizes other
kids who once behaved as he did to clean up the truck, fix the holes,
rivet on new sheet metal, and paint it with a new coat of green.
|| WORKS. The big green
box is the old truck. Without it, the teenager doesn't change
his thinking and atone for his misdeeds by fixing it up.
| Student #5: Jane is a
woman who makes flower boxes for her windows. She's very quiet and timid
and afraid of everyone, and keeps to herself, always scared of human
contact. One day, she completes a really big green box and mounts it
under her huge picture window. While she's out planting flowers in it, a
burglar arrives with a gun and forces her into the house, where he robs
her of everything valuable. Jane is terrified the whole time, but in the
end realizes she can't be pushed around like this, and she clubs him
with a rolling pin and calls the police.
|| DOESN'T WORK. Jane may have
made a big green box, but it has nothing to do with the events
that unfold following it.
HOW COULD IT WORK?
If she had never made a flower
box before, and she had just made her first one after a long
process of being nervous about doing so, and then she clubs
the burglar with the box, it could work.
#6: A good wizard, about to be captured by a far more powerful evil wizard, uses every last bit of magic he has to protect himself
with a cube-shaped force field, 50 feet on a side, which glows a luminescent green.
The evil wizard cannot penetrate it, but knows he must only
wait until the spell runs out of power, and he can destroy the good wizard. The good wizard's mind races over all the lessons he
learned from his master wizard years ago, with a series of flashbacks, until he comes up with a way to battle the evil wizard. The
story culminates in the force field failing and the two engaging in magical
combat. The evil wizard will lose even though he is more powerful than
the good wizard, because the good wizard learns to use his brain.
|| WORKS. The big
green box is the glowing, cube-shaped field. Without it
protecting him and giving him time to think and figure out
how to defeat the evil wizard waiting for his spell to fail,
he'd likely have died early on.
| Student #7: Every day, Bill
drives down the same desolate road, and every day, he sees an old green
shack out in a field. For years he sees this, and always wonders about
it. He decides one day to stop and go into the field and investigate it,
where he finds something strange that changes his life.
|| WORKS. The big
green box is the shack. If it weren't there, he never
would have investigated and had a life-changing event.
| Student #8: An alien
crash-lands on Earth in a cube-shaped spaceship and is stranded there.
He is nine feet tall and green. The military is after him, but Jeff
Bates and his farm family befriend him, helping to keep him away from
the military and hide the cube-shaped ship until aliens arrive to rescue
|| DOESN'T WORK. The
spaceship is the box, but the alien is big and green.
HOW COULD IT WORK? If the
alien were big and green AND named Box, it would work. If the spaceship
were shaped like a box AND were big and green, it would work.