The Never-Ending Procession of Ideas

It's more like ideas are happening to me rather than that I'm having ideas. I couldn't stop if I wanted to. My only choice is to ignore them or to not ignore them. It's a lot like dreaming while awake. If I ignore the dream then I will soon forget it. So, here are some of the ideas that have floated through my head concerning stories recently.


I have a student named Alex. We've read a number of small story books. Recently I asked him if he wanted to change it up, look into something else. "What do you want to learn?" As it turns out he wants to learn about flowers. I like tulips. We are now getting dangerously close to the limits of my knowledge pertaining to flowers. That is sarcasm, but it's slight.

We started looking at various kinds of flowers and I found out that his favorite flower is the lotus flower, which is a cool flower. Looking through all of these flowers my mind began to turn. A magic system based on flowers could be interesting.

If flowers had magical properties they would be highly controlled. There are all sorts of phenomena that go with that. Politicians would outlaw it for the public good while getting donations from the companies that they grant exclusive monopolies to. Gangs would rise up to fulfill the market needs. There is no imagination needed to just copy stuff like the CIA giving college students LSD, or smuggling heroin and cocaine to fund revolutions in various countries. There are tons of good plots sitting there just waiting to be turned into a fantasy story about magical flowers.

The magic system could be a hard fantasy system using chemistry, biology, and botany. But, and this is interesting, you could have one special flower that makes it so that the system is a soft fantasy magic system. The one special plant could be controlled by a company like De Beers. There's a huge process to get the potion right, but when a person drinks it they get amazing powers like telekinesis, until the effects wear off of course. It's a soft magic system within a hard magic system.

The processing that's needed to do these magical things with flowers might require other special ingredients or equipment, well... not might, it would. You could have a history that includes something akin to Tulip Mania. The focus on economics is what I've heard "Dune" is like, although I haven't read it. It also reminds me a bit of the control of poppies in the show Into the Badlands. There is a lot that could be done with a magic system based off of flowers, so much.

Here's another idea. What if the biblical stories weren't historical, what if they're recurrent? As in Adam and Eve were tested and failed. So they were tested again, and again, and again, and again. But, they just keep failing, despite their best efforts. This story could recur at every point in history, including today. Adam and Eve are alive somewhere, there are parallels to the tree, the fruit, the garden, the snake, all of it. They try hard, that's important, but they fail again and it starts again. The same could be done with Cain and Able, or the Flood, or the Tower of Babel. I think that would be interesting.

Another interesting thing I've been pondering of late, straight from the genius that is Jordan Peterson, is tragedy versus malevolence. It's one thing for someone to die. It's another thing entirely for them to be murdered. It's one thing to experience pain, it's another thing entirely for someone to hurt you. Stories are usually divided into comedies and tragedies, or happy endings and sad endings. I did invent the saying "A happy ending is a story that hasn't ended." So, I lean towards the more tragic end. But even more tragic than tragedy is malevolent tragedy. It's something that I will have to explore more.

Superman is a hard character to make interesting because it's so easy to make him invincible. Someone without limitations is boring, which is why they try so hard to give him some. We must remember the two great commandments of writing, don't bore the reader and don't confuse the reader. People without limitations are boring. I think that's why Sanderson's laws of magic are so important, because the essentially point out the benefits of limiting your characters. When thinking about a character the limitations are probably just as important as the motivation.

Sitting Bull used to talk about having two dogs inside of him that were fighting, a black dog and a white dog. Everyone knows of the motif of having an angel on one shoulder and a devil on one shoulder both telling you to do different things. This is so psychologically significant and true. There are some interesting ideas to explore there, but I'm not sure what yet.

What if the Cain and Able story ended differently? I think it would be interesting to see Able overcome and win. It's nice to see the hero win. It's a great story and I think that could be an interesting alternative ending if done right.

"Beauty and the Beast," "The Frog Prince," and the title of some story that shares that same motif but with a dragon. I'm not sure if I could or would want to write that story, but it popped into my head recently.

Those are just a few of the narrative ideas that have been floating around in my mind recently.


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I've written two fictional pieces that I like so far.

"The City of Peace" - A future science fiction utopia/dystopia action adventure in a framed story of a father telling his son a story about the child's grandfather.
http://www.jeffreyalexandermartin.com/2017/08/the-xprize-writing-contest-part-5-of-5.html

"The Birth of Hanniba'al" - A dark, somewhat alternative, historical origin story for the Carthage General Hannibal.
http://www.jeffreyalexandermartin.com/2017/11/write-michigan-short-story-contest-part_30.html


Here are three of my most popular posts.

"The Make of a Great First Line in Fiction"
http://www.jeffreyalexandermartin.com/2017/12/the-making-of-great-first-line-in.html

"A Letter to My Niece in 2034"
http://www.jeffreyalexandermartin.com/2017/12/a-letter-to-my-niece-in-2034.html

"The Most Important Question in Philosophy - Part 4 of 4"
http://www.jeffreyalexandermartin.com/2017/11/the-most-important-question-in.html


You can find more of what I'm doing here: JeffreyAlexanderMartin.com

You can support this page at https://www.patreon.com/jeffreyalexandermartin

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