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Showing posts with the label Story Ideas

Ideas and Such

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I have a friend in Russia that writes stories in English, Oleg. A few years ago a meteorite exploded above a Russian city and coated the city in alien dust. What if there is alien bacteria, or an alien virus, from the meteorite? That's what inspired Oleg to start writing. I've helped him a little bit with editing some other works he translated for friends. Next year he plans to publish an anthology of flash fiction horror stories featuring writers from something like a dozen different countries. It's a cool project. I'm going to contribute and co-edit it with him. So, today I'm going to come up with a flash fiction horror story idea, but I'm going to go over seven completely different ideas I've had first, because horror isn't my main focus.

Number One
This is a two brothers story. That archetype has a great tradition with Cain and Able and Romulus and Remus. In this idea I take two brothers. Something sets them on exploratory quests, I'm not sure wh…

The Never-Ending Procession of Ideas

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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 flow…

More Ideas

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I fell into a pure consummatory phase, and yet my mind churns with ideas. Without execution our inspiration finds itself more than transient, more and more limited by temporal bounds, until at last it has only been a whim. Perhaps it was a fancy whim, but a whim nevertheless. And so it must pass, from our immediate awareness to the past, and without the consolation of having been written. So write, I must.


I have about nineteen things I want to talk about. We shall see how it actually comes out. First, Mithra.

1)
It would be amazing for someone to construct the epic tales of Mithra, an ancient Roman god. We have the pictures, but we don't have the words. An epic the likes of the Illiad, the Odyssey, the Aeneid, or Paradise Lost seems like it would be appropriate. How much better would it be if it could actually be sung? Also, you could make a book that tells the tale in verse, and prose, and a type of hieroglyphics. Now that would be an epic. You could have various editions for var…

Interesting Ideas My Brain Had Recently

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My mind has been spinning webs of ideas for fiction. I want to lay out eight of these ideas in writing so that I can start clarifying my thoughts around them.


First

I like the framing that I did with my science fiction short story "The City of Peace." I opened and closed it like a father telling his son a bedtime story. The story was kept in the family, it was about the child's grandfather. Also, only a small piece of a larger story was told, so it naturally lends itself to being serial. This has had me thinking, I could write each chapter as a short story with the same frame of being a bedtime story and grow that into a novel. If I could write a story that children would like, then it would be a story that could be read as a bedtime story. One chapter could be intended to be read each night. String together a series of 28 or 30 short stories in this fashion and you could have one of the greatest bedtime stories of all time. It is an idea that my mind keeps going back to,…

The Myth and Reality of the Great Idea

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In writers groups I've heard a similar sentiment over and over again, one I didn't expect to hear, "If only I could come up with a great idea." I find interesting ideas easy to come by, but there's more to it than that.


There are 129 million book titles in existence. Completely new ideas are going to be rare, they always are. In order to have a new idea you need to integrate information from a variety of sources and innovate them. Usually the innovation small, many times just a small change in style, and only when the change is large will it be considered a new idea.

What and how you try to innovate will depend at least partially on your goals. Some writers write to entertain, others consider it an art. The entertaining write writes to keep attention. An artistic writer writes to communicate something of significance. A great writer does both.

A few weeks ago another one of these posts popped up in a writers group I am in. The woman gave a couple of examples of s…

Generating Ideas for Writing - A Play in One Table

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Many of the most intense moments in life have zero action in them. Many of the most intense moments in life are conversations, uncomfortable conversations. I have an idea about a play that concerns itself with only one conversation.


This picture came to me when I was in a half conscious state in between pain and sleep of two men at a table, sitting in a tense silence. I'm not sure what the conversation was about, but I could tell it was important; and uncomfortable.

Action is very popular in movies and television, but I have seen a number of plays where conversations were the real action, the dialogue was the real suspense, and I think this scene could fit in well. It got me thinking, "What if I did a play where the whole thing is just a single conversation at a table?", "Could I make that an intense emotional experience for the audience?" I don't know if I can, but it seems like it could be one of the most intense kinds of plays.

When you're at a resta…

Generating Ideas for Writing - The Gold Rush Phenomenon

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Good story ideas come to me all of the time now, just while I'm encountering things throughout the day. My uncle John also sent me an idea that is very versatile, almost begging for expansion, and I keep going back and thinking about it. Returning to an idea is the definition of fascinating, and that is a good lead to follow.


The idea concerns a modern gold rush. It is currently possible, in our world, the real world, to turn lead into gold. It just happens to cost more than the gold is worth to do it. What if it became economically viable? What if someone had this secret and didn't release it, they just made gold for themselves? That reminds me a little bit of "Prison Break" with all of the amazing technology that people are willing to do anything to control. "Prison Break" was an amazing show, too bad it continually got more melodramatic with everyone coming back from the dead, and the entire world revolving around one family. Anyway, you can see there ar…

Building a Story - Testing the Waters of World-Building

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A story can come from anywhere. It can be built from pieces, or it can be taken as a whole. You can invent, innovate it, copy it, transfer it, adapt it, change it, regress it, progress it, digress it, transcribe it, or digest it. Recently I have found the idea of world-building fascinating, so I am going to do a little exploring.


World-building really isn't needed too much in most stories. If the setting is somewhere that actually exists, then most people are probably at least slightly familiar with how things would work there; the physics, chemistry, biology, astrophysics, psychology, social dynamics, politics, languages, etc. will all be something that is somewhat familiar, usually. In science fiction and fantasy this is not the case, some aspect of the world has been invented, created, but only in the mind. The line between science fiction and fantasy can get blurry at times, but it is clear that both require the creation of another world.
There have been many other worlds crea…

Generating Ideas for Writing - Magic

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Magic! It has a magical hold over humans. We watch it, consume it, think about it, theorize about it, and dream about it. When we can't find magic that is good enough, we make more up. Let's see if we can come up with some magical ideas.

In starting to think about magic a few things popped into my head: trial by ordeal, rights of passage, the four horsemen, and blood iron. Now, when I look at these things just a moment longer I realize that only one, maybe two, even deals with magic. Trials by ordeal and rights of passage are very interesting ideas, and would make great stories, but there is nothing inherently magical about them. Yes, they can be associated with magic, but that is because the minds of men and women are full of magic. The four horsemen of the apocalypse are a kind of  religious magical event, so that is a possibility. Off hand I think there are kind of four main areas that we can break magical thinking up into: ghosts, gods, aliens, and magicians/witches/wizar…

Generating Ideas for Writing - Myths

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Gremlins like to sabotage airplanes, and the world sits on the back of a turtle. The first is a modern myth, the second is an ancient myth. Not all stories are myths, but all myths are stories. Old ones can be retold and re-imagined, new ones can be born. Maybe I can do something with a myth.


There is a great book called Bulfinch's Mythology. It contains many ancient myths, and many slightly more modern legends. I have noticed that many of the stories have pretty good plots, but the style tends to be old, which seems to be a tendency in things that are retold. Those stories are just asking to be renewed. King Arthur is one that is tuned into a new movie or television show every few years, but there are many others that are no less intriguing. I am attracted to the Ancient Greek and Medieval European stories, but I don't feel like retelling one of those stories right now. What about an animal?

Gremlins are more of a "creature" than an animal. The Minotaur and centaurs…

Generating Ideas for Writing - Cultural Differences (and such)

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The legend of the Amazon warrior women has fascinated men and women alike for thousands of years. Why? Because it changes roles that we assume to be fixed, and that intrigues us. Can this be a successful story?


Obviously, yes! The legend has been around for most of recorded human history, Steven Pressfield wrote an excellent fictional book on it in recent years, and The Hunger Games plays on the similar archetype of the warrior woman. What other role reversals may be useful for stories? What other cultural differences may be useful for stories?

Age roles could be reversed. Let the wisdom of the children guide us. This can seem a little far-fetched at first, but if you stick with an idea you can usually get a story to grow out of it (human minds are basically story-making machines). If only the "wisdom" of the children is used and has to be enforced and the logistics carried out by adults then obviously those adults would twist and bend things to their ends. We need to change…

Generating Ideas for Writing - It's All Fun and Games

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It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt, then it becomes a story. Many movies, books, and television shows are very similar to common kids games. Can I make an interesting story out of one? Let's see.


The first question is, which game shall I choose? Options include: hide and seek, tag, cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians, kick the can, capture the flag, tug of war, and catch.
I think cops and robbers and cowboys and Indians are both too common to be very fun to explore. I do enjoy those shows though, so maybe I'm wrong. Nevertheless, let's choose something else. Some sort of chase story is very common as well. It may be interesting to have something more like tag where someone is chasing, when they get to the other person maybe they take something, then they are chased. That sets up nicely for reversals. I don't know if I can do much with catch, other than use it as a loose metaphor. Maybe a lover moves between two people, maybe an item is traded back and…