March 7, 2017


Each Tuesday, rather than a POSSIBLY IRRITATING ESSAY, I'd like to both challenge you and lend a helping hand. I generate more speculative and teen story ideas than I can ever use. My family rolls its collective eyes when I say, "Hang on a second! I just have to write down this idea..." Here, I'll include the initial inspiration (quote, website, podcast, etc.) and then a thought or two that came to mind. These will simply be seeds -- plant, nurture, fertilize, chemically treat, irradiate, test or stress them as you see fit. I only ask if you let me know if anything comes of them. Regarding Fantasy, this insight was startling: “I see the fantasy genre as an ever-shifting metaphor for life in this world, an innocuous medium that allows the author to examine difficult, even controversial, subjects with impunity. Honor, religion, politics, nobility, integrity, greed—we’ve an endless list of ideals to be dissected and explored. And maybe learned from.” – Melissa McPhail.

F Trope: dark lord
Current Event: While this isn’t exactly a current event, it IS a current list! Read it if you love fantasy because you’ll see everything your favorite Evil Overlord has ever done to cause his, her or its defeat.

I ran into this list something like ten years ago and I read through it at least once a year. I don’t write fantasy often, but still dabble and have a couple of worlds I’d still like to write stories in. Anyone who was reading this blog two years ago might remember my pieces of flash fiction for a concept called THREAT OF MAGIC. In it, I have developed (using the Evil Overlord List!) a reasonable world…

Ah, but this isn’t about ME! It’s about an idea. I can’t even say that I came up with it, either. An author who teaches a writing workshop, Teresa Neilson Hayden has her students use this method for generating stories.

Today, I’ll ask you to try this one – or go to the website above and choose your own: “If I learn the whereabouts of the one artifact which can destroy me, I will not send all my troops out to seize it. Instead I will send them out to seize something else and quietly put a Want-Ad in the local paper.” (this is #49)

We’ll update this to the 21st Century and have a smart 15-year-old girl who collects small statues skimming through Craigslist looking to add to her collection. The ad asks for a small stature of a man squatting, with arms wrapped around his knees. It also states that this is a fairly common object – but what the buyer is looking for is a heavy, iron version of this; probably rusted. The head has a small gold ring set on it and in the ring is a tiny diamond. The buyer claims it was made by their father and the ring is their mother’s engagement ring. The ad offers $5000 for the figure.

The girl looks up from her laptop. The statue sits on her shelf – in fact, it’s the center of her collection. She shakes her head. She starts college next Fall. She could use the cash. After all, it’s only a statue.

She bookmarks the ad and returns to surfing. She eventually ends  up on where there is breaking news of a daring raid on an Egyptian museum by art thieves…

Have fun!

No comments: