Saturday, July 01, 2006

25 story ideas have come here to die

I found this list in a closet we cleaned out the other day. Apparently, years ago I wanted to write a story. I didn't know how to write a story, or what one might be about. So I made a list of things I could write a story about.

Let me preface this by saying, I WILL NEVER WRITE A STORY. I am not made to be able to write a story. I can tell you things that have actually happened to me, those kinds of stories. But I can't make up a story. I can't write a play, either, with characters. I've thought about it. This is the best play I could write, right here:

A: Hello.
B: Hi.
A: What's that you're doing there?
B: Eating toast.
A: I'm mad at you.
B: Well, I'm mad at you.


A: I don't forgive you.
B: I don't forgive you, either.

The End

Isn't that great? It has conflict. Now, here's the list of story ideas I found:

1. a house burns down
2. a family moves away
3. a mayor is elected
4. somebody is killed for revenge
5. a family explodes
6. a cluster of people explodes*
7. a cluster of disparate people are bound by something
8. a child is born, grows up, decides what it will be
9. a person becomes psychic
10. Two people buy a house together. They are the same. Then they find they are different. The house is a person, too. The house goes with one person. Who does it go with? They find out and the other one leaves.
11. a young woman moves to a new city. She meets what appear to be very safe people. Then they are revealed to be dangerous. Then she meets what appear to be very safe people. Then they are revealed to actually be safe.

12. a young woman is trapped in her old city. The people don't want her to leave. They devise ways to keep her there. They play upon her compassion. She finally figures it out that they are just playing a game. She breaks free and leaves.
13. a young woman who doesn't know something goes to a teacher and learns it
14. a young man hypnotizes a young woman, or a young woman hypnotizes a young man, a sensitive creature. The young man falls in love with the hypnotist and the hypnotist falls in love with the young man. Then the young woman has to leave and the young man is hypnotized and fixated and the spell goes awry and he self-destructs. The young woman is then hypnotized by an older man.
15. A very small girl discovers that something horrible is happening in her home in the memory of a young woman who is discovering that something horrible is happening in her home. As she discovers the horrible thing that is happening, she remembers what happened before. The thing she remembers helps her fix the thing which is happening now.
16. A young boy and a young girl who live next door to each other each want to trade families and live in the family of the other one, which seen through windows and visits seems very exotic. Then, one of them actually goes to live with the other one. One of several possibilities happens. One, they discover they like their own home better. Two, they discover they like this home better. Three, something happens to their original family. Maybe there is an earthquake and their home falls down. Then they have to stay with this family.
17. An earthquake happens. While a young woman is trapped in the rubble in the ground, she remembers lots of different things from her life. Also, she becomes psychic. This was starting to happen before the earthquake. But then it happens for sure. She knows things under there, and also, voices talk to her. She either dies, psychic, or she survives, and she has lost her family, and she is now the lone member of her strict family, and she is now beholden to no one and psychic.
18. a plague is sweeping through a city, a big city. The plague is that nobody knows that they were born and they will die and that there is anything beyond this life. They think they were always here and that they will always be here. Nobody knows that they are going to die. It is like the Titanic, only no one knows it is sinking. One person was gone while the plague struck, so it didn't get him. Now he's come back. He is able to convince one person that this is true by taking her on a trip somewhere where people die. So the two of them escape together and find solace in each other.
19. a girl becomes a woman in a crisis. What is a girl and what is a woman?
20. a young man makes a painting, he paints a woman that he loves. He is in love with an older woman. They are having an affair. By the time he finishes the painting, he is not in love with her. You can see it in the painting, it's changed.
21. a young man and a young woman live in a place where you're not allowed to go above ground during the day. It's like Plato's cave, only they know about the opening. It's just forbidden. They make a plan and go above ground during the day.
22. a man and woman are married. They both have affairs, each with the secret dream opposite sex version of themselves, fulfilling some forbidden wish of theirs, like the man has an affair with someone very successful and crisp and the woman has an affair with a criminal. But the criminal and the successful person are both that way in a petty way, not a grand way. The man and woman fall back in love with each other.
23. a woman has three children. Two of them will fail and one of them will succeed. But you can't tell who it will be or why, or whether she will know who succeeded and who failed. And maybe they won't know which of them succeeded and which failed. One will succeed, one will fail and the other will know which is which. So the one who knows, will fail, but know it. The other will succeed but not know it and the other will fail but not know it. Who is the success?
24. a woman gets to know another woman who is difficult to get to know. They become friends. Then it's clear that the first woman is harder to get to know than the one that you thought was hard to get to know. One is softer on the outside and one is softer on the inside.
25. a young man has an amazing sense of smell. He can smell what happened in a room. He's had this ability since he was a little boy. So he took up smoking so he wouldn't have to smell everything, and then his sense of smell dulled, which he liked. But then he takes too much Ecstasy and then he has to quit smoking, and it starts again that he can smell everything that happened. He finds a way to put it to use.

*I didn't mean that they literally explode. I meant that they blow apart emotionally and then geographically.

There. There they are. What might have been. I could have been a contender. Alas.


Anonymous said...

Holy crap! You deserve admiration for coming up with this list ... even if you never wrote another dot, this list proves something. You most certainly could write a story, even one about writing this list and why and when you did it and how you hid it and then rediscovered it, if nothing else. Thanks for sharing it. I expect to be reading tons of stories based on these very ideas over the next five years in all the hi-brow slicks and art rags. (You might set up a PayPal account so that people can buy rights to the use of one of these. That last one, especially, kills.)

Eve said...

I agree- this list is better than a lot of stories I've read.
If you ever do write #17, you should call it "Unbeholden".

Also- Britney Spears stole #19, and made it into a song- I would sue. But that's just me... I'm psychic, and in love with a painting of an older hypnotist smoker.

Seriously, I would buy any book or story you wrote- you are one of my favorite writers. I mean it.

la Ketch said...

21 please? you have to write 21. it's so much like a twighlight zone episode. i love it. btw HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!

Ash said...

#9 sounds awesome. The TV show The Dead Zone is kind of like that where some normal guy goes into a coma and when he wakes up he can touch people and see their future. I hate Sci-Fi in general but love this show.

Also, you should sue over #21 because it makes me think of the TV show Lost cause they live in that hatch under the ground.

So see, 2 of your ideas have been made into successful TV shows! :)

Reb and Heidi said...

May I request #10, please? I mean if you change your mind and start taking requests? I'm quite curious about #10.


bladio said...

is this a list you just made, or found? if found, when did you make it?

also - happy birthday 3 days ago, and didn't you recently have an anniversary? happy anniversary!!!

Tina Rowley said...

Greg: Holy crap, to you, too, about the kindness of your comment! Thanks!

Eve: You, too, you big peach!

Hil: No, happy birthday to YOU!

Ash: I am very successful!

Heidi: #10 is yours should pigs fly!

Blade: I made this list...I'm not sure how many years ago. Three? Four? A few. And thank you!