Friday, January 29, 2010

Idea Exchange (Free Premises!)

So I had this idea for a story that's the sort of book I'll never write. I think it would be perfect for someone like Jasper Fforde, but as I don't know him and he seems to have plenty enough ideas on his own, I'll offer it up here. If anyone wants it, it's yours, no strings attached. Anyway: a sleep shortage, with some evil corporation siphoning it off and selling it or making something evil out of it, or putting it into the water supply so we're all sort of half-asleep all the time and more prone to buy evil corporation's products on the Shopping Network. Sounds allegorical if you ask me. Anyway.

Now, I'm sure that some of you (yes, you) also get these sorts of ideas for things that you (yes, you) think someone could write, but that someone isn't you (yes, you). So here's the deal: post those ideas in the comments here! I called this post "Idea Exchange," but you don't have to leave an idea in order to take one. Just take it and write something good. Anyone else in on this? Anyone?


  1. This is a really great idea. Sorry I don't have anything to leave but I'll think on it.

    And your story ideas is super-sort of a Matrix mixed with Monsters Inc. I could see it done Serious & Angsty with an MC like me, a midnight insomniacs because the quiet of the night is the best time for thinking or Comic (lots of stumbling around, people falling asleep in random places).

  2. So, I guess I'm not exactly offering this idea up because I still plan to write about it, and am still in the process of writing about it, but I've always thought it would be cool to read two different books about the same topic by two different writers. The story idea is basically just the life and times of a cannibal. It interests me because whenever I tell people that's what I'm writing about, they start to tell me how they would write it, and it's always completely different from my approach.

  3. I keep a label on my blog called "free plot ideas" where I do this kind of thing.

    Sometimes I've actually run with it.

    I actually had a similar plot idea where machines used human brains as CPU's as people slept.
    Then when I developed it, it turned into something else. May write it for a NaNo some day.

    Check it out:
    Free Plot #53

    Maybe we could collaborate :)

  4. Huh... idea exchange. Cool idea, good sir. Let's see...

    1. Steampunk reinterpretation and update of Shelley's Frankenstein

    2. Rags-to-riches fantasy story about boy who grows up in a city the edges of which no one has ever seen.

    3. Life and times of a cut-rate, alcoholic, depressed hitman. (How do you get into that biz anyway?)

  5. Simon, I thought you didn't like Frankenstein! Or is that why you're giving the idea away? :)

  6. Ah, not so, good sir. I like the premise, but found the execution flawed. I'd love to reimagine it in a more modern style, with attention to pacing and tension. Except, in today's scientific climate, how would one achieve believability? Thus steampunk. :)

  7. That is totally Ffordean. (Yeah, I just coined a word. Yay for neologisms!)

    It's always fun to encounter another Fford Ffanatic. (OK, I'm really making these things up now.)

    I had an idea for a murder mystery but I'll never write it. I'll have to go find my notes for it and post it later.

  8. I guard my ideas. They come rarely, and without method. I think I may be stealing stuff from here. Yes, take take take!

  9. I get all of my ideas from classical myths and Shakespeare. Just this minute I realized that my current WIP is a mashup of "Two Gentlemen of Verona" and the sections of the Iliad dealing with the wrath of Achilles and Peracles' death. So, huh. Anyway, if you've got an idea you know you won't use but you think it's a good one, please share it!

    Ivana: I get less worried as I get older about people "stealing" my ideas. There's no way any two writers would treat a premise the same way, and I don't think that the story idea is as important as the execution. Of course, I'd have to say that, seeing as the book my agent and I are working on is a retelling of "Hamlet."

  10. I'm in, Scott. I constantly come up with ideas I could never write, but hate to see them go to waste. Usually I just double dog dare Simon and he can't resist. Mwa ha ha.

    Here's one for you Sci Fi types: a romance between aliens of a species with more than two genders. Say, four or five genders that hook up differently with each other gender.

  11. Stephanie: Have you read Fforde's latest? Mighty Reader enjoyed it and says it's very different from either the Thursday Next or the StoryCrimes novels.

    More than premises, I get titles and nothing to go with them. For at least ten years I've wanted to write something called "Aunt Anomie," but I have no story to go with the title.

  12. Aunt Anomie is about a retired supreme court justice returning to family life.

  13. A retired supreme court justice who's lost all faith in the Constitution and/or the rule of law? "I'm going to spend the rest of my days thinking about strict constructionism versus umbrella rights? No, I'm just going to be getting drunk in the morning. So you're going to law school now?"

  14. She gets drunk for two weeks straight, every morning right after her partner--they never married--leaves for work. Soon her need for order returns. She looks for a hobby. Flower arranging, but no. She wonders why she feels the need to keep her gavel in the night stand drawer, as if she's waiting for an argument to erupt so that she can pound it against the cherrywood.

  15. Laurel, that's a really cool idea with the different genders! As a biologist, I would find that very fascinating. And, as a writer, I love the different conflicts and relationships you could have.

  16. Aunt Anomie tries her hand at graffiti art until she's arrested in a subway station. Her partner (an epidemiologist at John's Hopkins) posts her bail. Silent ride home in the car, then, "You're entirely too old for this sort of thing, you know."

    "What am I supposed to do? Watch C-SPAN until I drop dead?"

    "Why did you retire, then?"

    "I no longer believe in abstractions, dear. Slow down; you'll miss our exit."

  17. This is a great idea, Scott. I sometimes get ideas that I think are good, but I don't want to pursue them for various reasons (not sure I could write that genre, might take too much research, etc). I'll have to think for a moment, and then I'll add a comment with some of these.

  18. Here's a political thriller / alternate history:

    Post 9/11, after Iraq and Afghanistan, we also went to war with Iran. This required a massive build up of US troops in the middle east with wars on multiple fronts, and little support from global allies.

    But that's just what they wanted us to do...

    With our forces locked down in that quagmire, China crosses the Pacific and invades the west coast.

  19. Combine the sleep-stealing thing with Davin's life and times of a cannibal and set it in a circus. Title: Can't Sleep, Clowns Will Eat Me.

  20. Scott: good idea (though you posted way early in the am). I'm going to assume Stephen King already did this in his INSOMNIA novel, but, interpretation being what it is; maybe not.

    Davin: don't get up so early. Somebody put a quarter in you when you were about 5 and its still got some pennies left! Stand on your head and get rid of those early morning enthusiasms.

    Am I late late late? Yeah, sorry. Loved the post Scott. Thanks.


  21. You made me laugh, Glass Dragon!

    I love where everyone's going with adding on to these plots. It's like those drawings my dad's college friends taught us to do when we were kids: where you fold the paper up so you're adding onto everyone else's drawings.

    We could put up a web page and write the stories together. Maybe scene-by-scene? My sys admin is looking into whether or not we could write it collectively right on the page---if not, we could write it in the comments and then cut & paste it into the page every evening.


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