Bridges to nowhere don’t do anybody any good, except the people who get paid to build them, because bridges are connections, whether physical, emotional or mental. They bring countries, cultures and people together. Of interest to writers, destroying them allows one to put a barrier up to the other, possibly, permanently. Hence, “Burning your bridges.”
Humans have been putting up, crossing, and taking down bridges since the first caveman thought, What if I drag this log across this stream? Maybe I can cross to the other side and connect with that cute cavegirl I saw up stream. That’s how bridges get started, whether a chicken or a culture, somebody wants to get to the other side. Unfortunately, there’s often somebody on the other side who doesn’t want you to cross. And that’s when the trouble starts.
It could be that a bridge is a good idea, but nature is the barrier, see “The Ghost and the Darkness.” Or the bridge is a bad idea and human nature keeps it down, see “The Bridge On the River Kwai.” Up or down, bridges change things. A fallen bridge may be an inconvenience to a commuter, or a new bridge could be the death knell of a culture. In either case there’s a conflict, and conflict is what writers, and readers, crave.
What if a bridge could be built across the Straits of Gibraltar to Africa? How would that have changed the world, depending on when it was built? An Alternate History writer’s cornucopia.
What if a young woman has a meeting with a man who owns the biggest and best bridge building company in the world? Though she has no training, her designs are elegant and beautiful. He can’t get them out of his mind. The opportunity arises to build one of her designs. Though the design can’t possibly work, it does and is hailed as the most beautiful bridge ever. On opening day, as the man, and his wife? who have semi adopted the woman who has no family, or past, watch the woman walk ahead, she disappears. Stunned, they can’t figure it out. Finally they find clues in her apartment and as they walk in the same place, they also disappear. Suddenly, they are on another planet, in another dimension, the future, past, Heaven, Hell, alternate universe. They must find the woman and get her home–or must they? There are always other bridges to build –physical, cultural, or mental.
What if a wormhole is discovered on another planet. It’s floating in air over the Y junction of three canyons. They have to build a 3 way bridge to get to the entrance from each side (country?). Lots of political wrangling (conflict.) Extremists may go to any length to prevent it, or to make sure it does get built. And what if the wormhole has three exits and you don’t know where you’ll come out–someplace Hellish, Heavenly, or pure utopia. Maybe the story of 3 people. Each ends up in a different place and we find out about each place from their individual experiences. A 3 book series! A bridge to bigger and better things.
What if you were a child and your parents are getting divorced and you don’t like the idea? How far would you go to build a bridge to keep them connected. Would you do something extraordinarily (beyond normal human abilities?) good so they would be forced to come back together for you? Would you benignly manuever them to a lonely cabin hoping they’d get together, but a storm comes in and they have to fight for their lives, together. Maybe they die and that’s your bridge to the mental institution where a kindly doctor builds a bridge to you and brings you back across to sanity, except you have these slightly extra-normal abilities that he wants you to use for some nefarious world domination scheme. OR, you could do something nasty like sell their souls to the Devil, send them to a haunted house, cabin, town, tunnel, pit, planet, or your own basement. See “The Cask of Amontillado.” Together forever.
What if, not to be negative all the time, Boy meets Girl, Boy loses Girl, Boy/Girl has to build an emotional/cultural/maybe even physical bridge to connect to the one they love.
What if there was a bridge and people came to it and it collapsed? Why were those people there at that time and place? Were they all connected, or brought there by fate, chance? Or perhaps driven by love, hate, desire, or criminal intent. See The Bridge of San Luis Rey. In a similar vein, draw bridges can be frustrating, especially when you’re in a hurry. Like Red Lights, they can be the great equalizer, everybody has to stop, rich or poor, late or early. What might be the difference in your life, and the life of those around you, or that you are running toward or away from, if you make the bridge or don’t.
By destiny or free will, this is my bridge out of here. Feel free to run your bridge idea by me. I’d love to hear other ideas. And don’t forget to connect with www.smashwords.com/profile/view/davidburton.