Running can be broken down into two categories – Running to, and Running from. Sure, there are subsets – Running scared, running wild, crazy, in place, for fun (now there’s a horror story!) or running out of gas. All can be taken either literally or figuratively
Running in place may be a third category. After all how many of us work hard, work fast, scramble to get things done that need to be done (or we think need to be done) yet end up where we began. This may be over a period of hours, days, weeks, months, or years. A tragic story way too many of us experience for real. Hence, the development of religion. Work your ass off to survive in this Life and no matter how bad it is here, there’s Heaven waiting. Whether you go for that or not, it’s a subject for another day.
One of my favorite running movies is Run, Lola, Run. It’s three versions of the same run showing how one tiny change can lead to a very different ending. It’s unique and entertaining. Check it out.
Opposite of Lola’s run is the running (metaphorically speaking) of different paths that all end up in the same place. Destiny or Free will? Another one for another time.
Another question you might explore is, What If your character thinks he’s running toward something, but is actually running away from something. When/how do they figure that out? Do they have the courage or insight to stop and confront? Is the prize ahead worth what they’re leaving behind? Is the prize ahead what they’re running from so they’ll end up where they began? The happy ending. Or will they keep running and tragically never reach their goal which is behind them?
There are plenty of reasons for your character to run from something. Bad guys are after you. Good guys are after you. Aliens, demons, monsters, nature, your past, are all legitimate reasons to run and can be good stories without delving too deep into philosophical, psychological, religious, emotional, or legal underpinnings of the character’s motivations. However, to be a great story, you might want to look under a rock or two. Having two characters running together, for different reasons (In their minds) won’t hurt either.
We’re all running toward the same final finish line. Some rush headlong toward it, not believing they’ll ever really get there, but they will. Some keep running in place, ignoring it, thinking they’ll never get there, but they will. Some actively run from the finish line, using herbs, and potions, and diets, and mental tricks, believing they’ll never reach it, but they will. And some, way too many, are tired of running and can’t wait to cross that line. Support your local Suicide Hot line.
See above. If you can’t find a story idea up there, slowly close your word prossesser and walk away from the computer.
What if you ran or you died? I don’t mean run, or that piano falling from the thirteenth floor is going to crush you. I mean what if “something,” real or imagined was chasing you and you knew that if you stopped running it would kill you. If every time you looked over your shoulder there “it” was. To stop, was to die. What would you think? How would you handle it? What if you were a marathon runner and could keep going and going and going? How long could you go before you ran out of steam and gave up, ready to die? What about the jerk who followed you, taunted you, laughed at you, called you crazy, threw beer cans at you? Would you stop, grab him, and just before the monster shredded your bodies, remind him what an asshole he was, and say, “See, I’m not crazy.” What about your followers who ran with you a la Forrest Gump? Would they feel vindicated if you stopped and was torn to shreds? What if you stopped and wasn’t torn apart, it was all in your mind – you were crazy!! Would they tear you apart so they could feel good about their belief in you? Would there be a time when you went from running “from” something to running “to something? Maybe someone you love is up ahead and if you could only get to her/him you’d be safe. Maybe as you began to believe in yourself more, the monster, Real or Imagined, would fall farther and farther behind.
What if you couldn’t stop running. Literally! For you Stephen King wannabes, maybe you did something you shouldn’t have and drew down a curse on yourself. “You want to run through my flowers, Buddy? I’ll show you running!” And you kept running and running and running and couldn’t stop if you wanted to. How would you eat, drink, sleep, shit? Where would you run to? Eventually your shoes would wear out and you’d run barefoot, then your feet would run out and you ran on bones, then your bones grind down and down and you finally die but keep running through the night and thus become the Legend of the Barefoot Runner.
I’ve mentioned this one before – What if a loved one was in danger and only you could save her/him and you were half the world away and your path was continually blocked but you had to keep on running though it might take years. How long can love keep you going? Or hate?
That’s the thing about running of any kind, to get where you want or need to go takes courage, determination, toughness, perseverance, friends, guts and luck. Keep running for your goal, you’ll get there.
That’s it. I gotta run.