Tag Archives: Story Ideas

A Gift to Readers?

giftI’m going to follow Brandon Sanderson’s example yet again, I think. That is, if you approve. Feedback is crucial.

Brandon wrote a free novel to his fans, for no other reason than…so they could read it. It isn’t published by a publisher, it’s available for download directly from his website.

My brother (whose name is also Brandon) suggested I do something akin to this early in the site’s development.

Of course, manuscripts of my work-for-publication are available to friends, family, agents, and editors for free, but they are deliberately kept private and unpublished as I endeavor to have them put into print. They’re stories for sale to magazine editors, not free to public.

I have no delusions that I can boast Sanderson’s readership; his free e-book novel was written only after he’d published a couple of critically acclaimed novels. (But he wrote 11 unpublished novels even before those.)

But I think a “free” project for readers would be an enjoyable project for me in several respects.

  1. It will be one project I can enjoy without the angst of submitting for publication.
  2. It will give me a consistent “writing for an audience” feel which is so much more motivating than just plugging along as though writing is busy-work.
  3. If you like it, and you tell your friends about it, it will give some measure of exposure through the web.

All in all, I like the concept and I’d love to go forward with it.

The remaining question is…what to write?

One of the story ideas already listed? Fantasy? Sci-fi? Horror? You decide. Feel free even to suggest plotlines and characters at this point. Throw something out there, and if I like it, I’ll pick it up and run with it. Just be aware that they will be no royalties for either of us with this one. And of course, if you’re self-conscious about posting your ideas publicly, you can always email them instead.

Back to the idea tank

thought_bubbleSo Sunday I meant to call dad and outline (Title Withheld) some more. But Woman’s Best Friend still wasn’t finished, and the last three scenes took me pretty much all weekend to write.

The best laid plans of mice and men, right?

(Sorry dad. We’ll catch up soon, promise.)

I’ve already performed a significant edit on Woman’s Best Friend, and overall I was pretty satisfied. I’ve incorporated most of your feedback in some form or another; even those things I was unsure how to fix, I modified slightly, hopefully making the text even clearer than before.

But I was pleasantly surprised, usually my first full readthrough of a finished draft nets me hundreds of corrections. This time there simply weren’t that many things I wanted to change, even including all the fixes already emailed to me.  I’m sure more will come after you’ve read the full story.

Right now I feel kinda like after achieving a major goal at work or in an online game. I was so focused on this one thing, all of a sudden I have the same level of energy, but don’t know where to direct it. I think tonight I will take a stab at outlining (Title Withheld) so that I can bring dad something more concrete when I do call him.

Finishing a short story is so satisfying, though (especially compared to plugging away on a novel), I’d like to put another under my belt in the next few weeks.

Of all the story ideas I mentioned previously, the one that’s most appealing to me at the moment is the one about the dragon thief. I’m picturing Gone in 60 Seconds meets … well, if there had ever been any good movies with dragons, I’d name one here, but there really haven’t been. Really. Not one.

Another idea I had awhile back was a colony planet thousands of years in the future is isolated. There’s no galactic empire or anything, or if there is, these guys aren’t included. Anyway, sometime before the current residents lived, there was a war out in space, and this planet was targeted for destruction. Only the war is over now, and the evil people who were in power on the planet have been defeated by internal coup, their regime toppled. Problem is, there’s still a giant “blow up a planet” missile headed for this planet at nearly the speed of light. Although it’s still billions of miles away, it’s obviously still a concern as it will arrive in a couple of months and destroy the (now innocent) inhabitants.

Another idea I had way back was for the kind of alien invasion nobody ever does: Tiny aliens, the size of gnats or smaller. They don’t attack us physically (obviously) but instead work on ways to control our brains. But they don’t just target world leaders to wipe out the planet…for some reason, the people they target were people who 1. nobody liked (jerks) or 2. nobody really knew (loners). This behavior, while not exactly friendly, is difficult to be construed as outright hostility, since there seems to be some rhyme and reason to the choice of targets, but what?

Well, I did give a pretty serious edit to Woman’s Best Friend and it’s late. Think I’ll call it a night and mull over what to work on next tomorrow at work.

(By the way, don’t forget to vote if you haven’t yet.)

I'm a big fan of forums, and I've already installed phpBB3. Should I add forums to the site? (They would be for many additional topics besides just the blog.)

  • Yes. I love forums they would increase the discussion and participation here. (50%, 2 Votes)
  • Comments are a sufficient way for your readers to communicate and participate. (50%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 4

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The Continent of Lost Ideas

foggy_valley2Some people believe that coming up with ideas for stories is the hard part. I disagree. In fact, I have ideas for new stories several times a day.

The hard part is taking the idea for a story and molding it into some meaningful presentation. There’s a big difference between, “He finds an evil ring of power” and The Lord of The Rings.

I’ve met hundreds of people who aren’t writers, but have ideas for a novel or a movie. (Sometimes they want me to write the story and then split the credit 50/50 if it’s wildly successful.) I’ve also been asked whether I’m afraid of anyone stealing my ideas.

/scoff

It takes more than a really good idea to write a bestseller or blockbuster. A lot more. No, the only intellectual property concern I have is for full text completed works. Besides which, there’s nothing new under the sun and every idea you can imagine has been done to death. It’s how the story is told which makes a good read.

I’ve lost thousands of ideas in that gap between idea and story. If I don’t have something down on paper (literal or digital), the concept is eventually lost. (This has happened with musical compositions as well as story ideas, which makes me sadder because those are rarer.)

Perhaps these lost ideas wander the earth and congregate in some far off mystical place. Hopefully I’ll be able to visit eventually and get some of those ideas back.

But in the meanwhile, the blog seems like an appropriate place to share my ideas. First, I can create a record of them, and someday when I’m bored and looking through old posts, or just want to work something but don’t know what, I can call up all the posts of story ideas and see what tickles my fancy.

It also will allow feedback from you if one of these suddenly appeals to you.

Two ideas that I want to get down immediately have both come from dreams. (Dreams are a superb and source of raw ideas, but they have a poor story structure; again, the hard part comes in the craft.)

  • Post-apocalyptic search for his life-mate
    • There has been a major catyclism; war, natural disaster, whatever. Whatever it was destroyed whole cities and ruptured the fabric of society. In the midst of this chaos, our hero has taken leadership over a small band of people and helped them survive. But he was seperated from his lover before the disaster. Once he has decided that his ragtag band can now survive without his leadership, he prepares to depart. “Where are you going?” they ask. “To find _______.” (The name of his true love.) “That’s crazy!” they protest. “She must have died! Even IF she survived the initial disaster, there’s no way she can survive the current aftermath of (insert other dangers, radiation, wild animals, bandits, confused attack robots). And even IF she survives it, there’s no way YOU’LL survive (current dangers) and even IF she survives AND you survive…you’ll never find her.” He responds, “Well, I have to try,” and leaves anyway.

 

  • The dragon thief
    • In this particular world, there’s a fantasy airforce of sorts, dragonriders who make up an elite corps of soldiers like modern Airborne Rangers or something. The protagonist of this story isn’t one of these soldiers, but he is a daredevil thrillseeker. He decides to steal one of their dragons right out from under them. The modern equivalent would be a mobster trying to steal a jet out from under the airforce. This is even further complicated by the fact that in the story, the jet (dragon) actually has loyalties to its rightful owners.