As a wildfire advances, an inexperienced deputy sheriff must evacuate his town and protect it from looters.
As a man V nature goes this is a good concept.
However there is an inherit problem with man V nature stories the natural force can’t be an antagonist it can only be an obstacle for obvious reasons. Therefore man V nature scenarios are often used as backdrops to another story where the element of danger introduced by the natural force heightens the stakes.
So what makes a good man V nature story is a clear and preferably unique danger from a natural force combined with a good antagonist to add complications for the MC.
I think best if you describe one of the looters as a ring leader or criminal master mind. If anything take it further and make it personal by having the antagonist do something bad to the MC in either the past or present to further motivate the MC.
Hope this helps.
>>So what makes a good man V nature story is a clear and preferably unique danger from a natural force combined with a good antagonist to add complications for the MC.
Hmm. Who is the “good antagonist” in “Cast Away”, “All is Lost” or “The Perfect Storm”?
The principal problem I see with this story is that it is rather conventional and unimaginative compared to what is happening in real time. As I write wild fires are raging in California and other states in the western United States because of extraordinarily hot summers and drought conditions. Bush fires periodically rage in Australia for the same reason.
How does this story top the real life drama of those fires? What is there in this story that people will be willing to pay to see that they can’t already get for free on the TV news or YouTube uploads?
I’m from England and had never heard of Mayberry RFD. Just googled it and it looks terrible. I am starting to consider pursuing a new logline. This is why I really like this process as it helps me nail down what I want to write before scrapping at a later stage and wasting loads of time.
I tweaked it based on feedback:
“With the town sheriff taken ill, his inexperienced deputy must oversee a wildfire evacuation but his loyalty is tested when his wayward brother starts looting homes.”
But I’m not so sure anymore.
In The Perfect Storm the antagonist was a rival fisherman who helps to drive the MC (on top of financial stress) via professional competition to take an extreme action in the face of danger.
‘Cast Away’ and ‘All Is Lost’ are exceptions in the genre. Naming examples is a risky thing to do because for every example supporting one argument you can find one if not more supporting another.
To that matter here is a little list, off the top of my head, of successful Man V nature films that had an antagonist separate to the force of nature: Twister, Volcano, Titanic (yes the story with in the story is man V nature many men and women V nature in fact but since the story was weak on its own they strung a romance story with an antagonist into it which is likely what made it so successful), The Mountain, The Grey, Dante’s Peak (Paul who doesn’t believe Harry, not a long plaid role but enough to create a dramatic premise), The Poseidon Adventure (actually has several antagonists spread across all acts) the list goes on…
Point is while a few films in the genre worked well with no antagonist the fact is that the majority of successful films in this genre did have antagonists. This is a point worth noting and implementing when writing in the genre.