More of the Ideas List (Part 2 of 3)

The other day, after reading over the previous post on the ideas list for typos and whatnot, Partner looked at me and said "I'm looking forward to the novel ideas." So let's try and get to at least one of those this time.  

  1. Teleporting SWAT team
  2. Invert The Fall of the House of Usher
  3. Warrior Kings 
  4. Poor Private Collins 
  5. Cellmates 
  6. Glamour for plainness 
  7. Izzy
  8. Fertility Deity
  9. Ghost rescuing 
  10. Totemic spirit animals of extinct species
  11. Ghost ship one-liners
  12. Hellocene era
  13. Locked spaceship ensemble mystery

Idea #1 came from thinking about superheroes and how I'd actually work to integrate them into society. Because maintaining the status quo is the first impulse of folks in power. And personally, I do prefer the rule of law. Anyways, my thought was, in a world with teleporters, why wouldn't you have a central dispatch to send specially trained SWAT teams (superpowered or not) in at local request. I'd route it through the FBI who already send task forces across the country. Something like the Justice League except part of the existing law enforcement I suppose. So that's a world setting to explore if/when I come up with characters and a plot. I could see this as anything from flash fiction to a novel to a series. So, onto the 'length uncertain' list.

#2 came from a couple writers on Tor.com talking about The Fall of The House of Usher about being the fridged woman in a Gothic horror story. With a psychic connection to your brother who's too busy being gothy to open the door. Sounded like a good idea so I wrote it down to take a stab at myself.

#3 came from a review of a Southeast Asian horror film review in... I think The Atlantic. The film was set at a psychiatric hospital (I think) where dead warrior kings were stealing life force from soldiers to continue fighting each other. With a set up like that, I mean how could I not want to play with the idea at some point.

Poor Private Collins came from playing a Call of Cthulhu game when Ethan, the GM, mentioned the different ways various group have played the scenario and the different results that's produced for an NPC. The idea was the NPC being aware of previous iterations of the scenario but unable to change his own behavior to affect the outcome. So he suffers through several deaths, praying for this new configuration of adventurers to finally get it right. Definitely a horror piece, the poor kid. But to write this one, I'd need to relisten to the recording of that session. And I really dislike hearing recordings of my own voice. Definitely a short story though, if I do it.

#5, Cellmates, stems from an article on how unlikely it was for complex organisms to form from simple bacteria. Which prompted the question: What if we are the only life in the galaxy that made both the leap from simple bacteria sized life to complex organisms AND into consciousness/sentience? I'd set this right as a bunch of scientists are coming to that conclusion, have them grapple with it for a bit. Make a report to some bureaucracy dealing with colonization and terraforming efforts.

#6 came out of reading Mary Robinette Kowal's Glamourist Histories series (well, the first three) and an article by a woman on what it's like getting approached all the time based on their looks. The thinking went that there would have to be at least one or two women who could cast illusions on themselves who would choose to alter her looks to avoid male attention. Which might be interesting in a Victorian comedy of manner piece. I'd aim for a short story out of the idea, but probably get a flash piece. Like I do.

Number seven, Izzy, is the one Partner's probably happiest to hear about. This reminder is a bit unusual for me in that it's just the one word and a name at that. No notes. No description. Just a nickname. And that's enough to remind me which setting I'm planning to place this novel in (PostHuman Studios' Eclipse Phase), the character (a Fall survivor stuck on Earth post apocalypse and evacuation), relationships (dead lover, dead smart-baboon companion, live smart-dog), opening scene/inciting incident, other characters (well, first draft sketches of them), and story structure/plot (travelogue/heist/adventure). Izzy's been gestating in my head for quite awhile. It's time to give her room to grow in the page. Just as soon as I finish off the current WIP, The Dangers of Fraternization.

The fertility deity idea, #8, came from Greg's backstory in our Monsterhearts campaign over on Technical Difficulties. His character's mom is a fertility deity which, combined with some friends having fertility issues, got me to start thinking about an old fertility deity in modern times and how they'd fit in. How would they feel about modern birth control? Or fertility treatments? Pretty sure this one would be short story.

The next one, ghost rescuing, came from a Tumblr post from RPPR's blog about people leaving reviews for haunted items they bought on eBay. Why are they buying these items? Are they reading the ghosts stuck to these items? Why? I'm just going to have to write this one to find out. And I don't know how long it'll take.

#10, Totemic spirit animals of extinct species, feels like an interesting seed of an idea with no supporting setting, characters, or plot. I don't know what to do with it, other than let it continue germinating and see if something else attaches to the idea to flesh it out.

I think #11 could be a lot of fun. I'd find copies of advertisements put in old newspapers announcing the sinking of sailing ships, then continue forward into the present day, the announcements getting shorter and more direct as the language style changes, and continue into the future, morphing the breadth of ships announced as lost to include submarines and container ships and finally spaceships. ... Oh dang it, I'm going to have to include the Russian cosmanauts, the Mercury fire, and Challenger. Well, that will make it harder to write a slow burn. I'll figure it out though. Short story or flash length, definitely. Too easy to wear out my welcome otherwise.

The Hellocene Era is a concept I learned about from the YouTube channel Kurzgesagt. The basic idea is that instead of counting of calendar from a religious dating perspective, we renumber the calendar based on when the archeological evidence says humans first built a temple. Which turns 2017 into 12,017. It is, once again, a seed of an idea, possibly just something to throw in the background of another story. Although, now that I'm thinking about it, I think I should pair it up with the totem spirits idea — humans are responsible for the most species-wide extinction events in recent (geologically speaking) history, so using when humans first really started altering the landscape around us as the apocalyptic marker to restart the calendar in totemic spirit society is rather appealing from a story telling perspective. I'll have to do that. Neat. 

#13, locked spaceship ensemble mystery, is just a plot, but one that combines my childhood era of too many mystery books and television shows with my ongoing love of science fiction into a locked room mystery where the locked room is a spaceship. If/when I build the setting and some characters for this plot, it should end up at novella length at minimum. I'll have to see though.