My imagination is one of the best assets I have for my writing. It’s also one of the biggest detriments. To understand this, just look at the story ideas I have come up with in the past week. (By ideas I mean just that. Things like characters and plot are nebulous at best.)
1. Some friends had a birthday party for their two year old. As I watched the aunt, uncle, and grandparents taking photos and video of him playing, I realized that there will be an unprecedented amount of information about these whippersnappers as they grow up: photos, videos, blog postings, texts, Facebook updates, whatever replaces Facebook, whatever replaces whatever replaces Facebook, etc., etc. It’s possible a century or more from now, a biographer could be given all that information in one lump sum.
2. The original idea in #1 was that it would be a descendant wishing a biography of a famous ancestor, but as I was thinking of writing up this blog, I came up with another version with the subject asking for a biography of themselves. After decades – or centuries – of upgrades, be they cybernetic, genetic, or whatever, perhaps the subject has forgotten who they were and would like to be reminded of that.
3. Just as I wrote that last sentence of #2, I thought, What if they have forgotten who they were? What if they were writing an autobiography and just didn’t realize that? (I’ll admit, this one’s very nebulous.)
4. One of the first movies I saw as a kid was The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. I’ve seen it dozens of times, but I’d never seen For a Few Dollars More. So when I saw it was going to be on TV, I sat down and watched it. As I watched a Western, I just had the urge to write a Western. So I came up with an idea of two brothers who start up a gang of roughs. Things go wrong, and the anti-hero brother has to shoot the villain brother.
5. Similar to #4, but the brothers are twins that nobody knows about. One robs while the other sets up an alibi.
6. A friend at work showed me a game where you try to rebuild a city during a zombie apocalypse. You kill zombies, extend the fortified walls, reclaim buildings, that sort of thing. I had an idea for a kid growing up in such a world.
7. I had a dream that had a brief connection to the zombie game. When I woke up, I hammered some of the details into something I could work with. A soldier is wounded in Afghanistan and discharged while one of his friends is killed. Several years later, his friend’s daughter tracks him down to ask him about her dad. During this meeting the zombie apocalypse begins.
8. The same as #7, but instead of a zombie apocalypse it’s an alien invasion.
That’s eight ideas. Eight ideas in seven days. Some would be short stories, but I can see a few as screenplays or novels. Yes, it’s cool that my well of ideas is far from drying up, but I already have hundreds of ideas I’ll never get around to writing. I don’t need more.
So why did I title this “Ideas for sale?” Well, if you’re a writer who’s out of ideas, contact me and I’ll gladly sell you some. Of course, they will be worked out more than these nebulous things. 😀
Of course, this reminds me of a story I wrote years ago, “Do I have an Idea for You.”