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Plots: North of the World

Utopia; Drama | Flannan (Scotland), 2022

A lighthouse on a cliff. The sea in front of it

Main characters

Carlos is the lighthouse keeper of the uninhabited Flannan Islands, far off the Scottish coast. He lives as a hermit and his only contact with the world is through the Internet, the radio, the few ships that pass off shore, and a military helicopter that brings him semi-annual supplies. He is a man who loves reading and writing. He makes notes in a journal of the things that happen on the island and recounts them, evoking his past, the vicissitudes that drove him away from civilization and chose a life of solitude.

The call to adventure

When all communication, both satellite and radio, suddenly breaks down, Carlos cannot come to terms with it. The silence lasts for weeks. Then a series of strange natural events begin: raging thunderstorms and raining carcasses, purple sunrises and constant earthquakes. When he intercepts some radio transmissions he understands the truth: a nuclear conflict of planetary proportions has broken out.

The conflict

Carlos is a blind spectator to the nuclear escalation. A prisoner on the island that saved him, he experiences mixed emotions, hovering between the happiness of being saved and the despair of being alone and dying forgotten. He replays the old videotapes he has kept, photo albums, and rediscovers the affections from which he fled. He wonders what fate they were facing and whether his choices were right, but the stormy sea offers him no answers.

The key

Life follows unexpected paths: after a few months a small boat docks on the island. A small family of three, father, mother and daughter, disembark. Despair makes way for happiness: there are only four of them but they have survived. However, none of them knows if others have escaped the disaster. So the question is to stay on the island until the end of days or to take the boat back and look for a sign of life to start again? In the end, the family already tried by navigation decides to stay, while Carlos will try to reach the British coast. The four separate with the hope of finding each other and the knowledge that it will not happen.

The alternatives

Utopian stories of this kind lend themselves to many alternatives, both of character and place. The important thing is to maintain the structure that needs two major events: a catastrophic event that destroys everything and the unexpected arrival of other characters who offer hope to the protagonist. In addition, there is the possibility of creating a very appealing fantasy story using this plot: think of the island as a wonderful place on the edge of magical lands where a struggle is going on between different and powerful factions. With a dash of imagination you can build a new world populated by fantasy creatures that accompany the protagonist .


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