A Story Idea Each Day for a Month — Day 20

April 20th, 2014 by

This is the fifth year in a row I’ve run this series in April.

Today’s story: 7 tips for keeping your man (from the 1950s).

Woman, you have no idea how lucky you are to have landed a man. But as the literature of the mid-century’s greatest matrimonial minds tells us, he’s one wrinkled shirt away from leaving you. Eyes open and mouth shut ladies. It’s about to get real.

1. Don’t talk
Oh, did Mavis from next door insult your prize winning squash? Did little Timmy get sent home for starting fires again? That shooting pain in your left arm just keeps getting more intense? Keep it to yourself! Your man works all through his day and last thing he needs to hear about is yours. Refer to the first four commandments on “How to be a Good Wife” Edward Podolsky gives in his 1943 book, Sex Today in Wedded Life:

Don’t bother your husband with petty troubles and complaints when he comes home from work.

Be a good listener. Let him tell you his troubles; yours will seem trivial in comparison.

Remember your most important job is to build up and maintain his ego (which gets bruised plenty in business). Morale is a woman’s business.

Let him relax before dinner. Discuss family problems after the inner man has been satisfied.

In his 1951 book, Sex Satisfaction and Happy Marriage, Reverend Alfred Henry Tyrer has more to add to that. Do not ask for things. This is called “nagging”:

I verily believe that the happiness of homes is destroyed more frequently by the habit of nagging than by any other one. A man may stand that sort of thing (nagging) for a long time, but the chances are against his standing it permanently. If he needs peace to make life bearable, he will have to look for it elsewhere than in his own house. And it is quite likely that he will look.

Unless your husband wants you to talk. Then don’t you dare disappoint him. Says Reverend Tyrer:

“If [the husband] is intellectually inclined, and from time to time seeks to explain little things to her so that she may have at least a bare knowledge of what it is that interests him, and, without the slightest comment, she takes up again the fashion magazine she laid down when he commenced to speak, we may be pretty sure that there is going to be a ‘rift in the lute’ sooner or later in that house.”

—-

3. Be the hot steak, not the cheap pork

Speaking of cooking, Reverend Tyrer has a metaphor for you.

Picture a woman preparing a fine meal for her husband. “She remembered his choice of meat and was careful to get an extra-fine cut…her best cutlery and dishes and finest linen are all in evidence, and a little colorful decoration has been tastefully displayed….and as he comes into the house she greets him with a smile of welcome and a touch of manifest love.” Now, say that linen was a bed sheet, the colorful little decoration was fuzzy handcuffs, and you had the privilege of being that extra fine cut of meat. What does all that equal? A husband who doesn’t cheat on you!

But say that same wife “is constantly setting him down to indigestible meals, cold and unappetizing, with nothing properly cooked, set out on a kitchen table with a dirty cloth, she need not be surprised if her husband frequently telephones from the office that business will prevent him from being home for dinner.”

All because you weren’t properly cooked when he was hungry!

—-

5. Pink panties are a must

And while we’re on the subject of you performing convincingly in the boudoir, you better be costumed correctly, too.

That the underwear should be spotlessly clean goes without saying, but every woman should wear the best quality underwear that she can afford. And the color should be preferably pink. And lace and ruffles, I am sorry to say, add to the attractiveness of underwear, and are liked by the average man.

—-

7. Your husband is the boss of you

It is fitting to close with a simple truism from the renowned Eugenicist Prof. B.G. Jefferis, in his Searchlights on Health, The Science of Eugenics:

The Number One Rule. Reverence Your Husband. He sustains by God’s order a position of dignity as head of a family, head of the woman. Any breaking down of this order indicates a mistake in the union, or a digression from duty.

Stop talking, slap on some pink drawers, and start worshipping!

Pleasantville (1998) — “Two 1990s teenagers find themselves in a 1950s sitcom where their influence begins to profoundly change that complacent world” — probably negates transposing an ardent feminist back in time. However what about something in the other direction: Three 1950s couples suddenly find themselves in the year 2015. Do they go from this:

To this:

Create a laundry list of issues a couple faces — money, cooking, work, chores, sex — and explore a bunch of set pieces and scenes you can put the couples in to have some fun with various conventions.

Some adjust. Some resist. Perhaps some contemporary characters get affected by 1950s sensibilities. Maybe something there…

There you go: My twentieth story idea for the month. And it’s yours. Free!

What would you do with it?

Each day this month, I invite you to join me in comments to do some brainstorming. Gender bend, genre bend, what if. Take each day’s story idea and see what it can become when we play around with it. These are all valuable skills for a writer to develop.

See you in comments (hit Reply to join the conversation). And come back tomorrow for another Story Idea Each Day For A Month.

A Story Idea Each Day for a Month — Day 19

April 19th, 2014 by

This is the fifth year in a row I’ve run this series in April.

Today’s story: Bank Repossesses Wrong House, Sells Off Homeowner’s Stuff.

An Ohio bank is refusing to reimburse a Vinton County woman whose house they unjustly repossessed while she was out of town.

Katie Barnett recently returned home after being away for two weeks to find that the lock on her door had been changed. She crawled in through the window to find all of her stuff missing.

Barnett suspected she had been robbed — and she wasn’t too far off.

It seems that, while Barnett was gone, the First National Bank of Wellston arrived at her place of residence, broke in, and took possession of all her belongings, including the house.

Except, as it later turned out, they had the wrong address.

“They told me that the GPS led them to my house,” Barnett told 10TV. “My grass hadn’t been mowed and they just assumed.”

Phoning the local police to report the incident did Barnett little good, as the McArthur Police Chief refused to investigate and considered the case closed.

But for Barnett, the ordeal is very much ongoing.

With all of her stuff either sold off by the bank or thrashed, the homeowner presented the bank’s president with an $18,000 estimate for restitution.

He refused to pay up.

“He got very firm with me and said, ‘We’re not paying you retail here, that’s just the way it is,’” Barnett recalled. “I did not tell them to come in my house and make me an offer. They took my stuff and I want it back.”

Okay, that’s bad. But this is even worse: Texas Man Finds Home Gone After Demolition Crew Sent to Wrong Address.

The three-bedroom ranch-style home overlooking Lake Worth had been in David Underwood’s family for decades, so it struck him as rather odd that he was having a hard time locating it after returning to Fort Worth from an out-of-town trip with his wife.

“We rounded the corner and my wife, Valerie says, ‘The house is gone David,’” Underwood recalled to the Dallas Observer. “I’m looking at the yard, so I looked and I’m like, ‘Wow, OK.’”

All that was left of their cherished property was a concrete slab and the sense that something had gone terribly, terribly wrong.

They were right on the nose: While the couple was away, a demolition crew had been sent by the city to tear down an adjacent house, but were accidentally given the wrong address.

“On July 12, 2013, contractors demolished the wrong property on Watercress Drive,” the city said in a statement released this week. “The property to be demolished should have been 9708 Watercress Dr. The property that was demolished was a vacant structure located at 9716 Watercress Drive.”

Vacant, because Underwood had been fixing it up so he and his family could move in on a permanent basis.

Suffice it to say, the house now needs more than a bit of caulking and a once-over on the unkempt lawn.

The obvious approach is to go 99%-er vs. 1%-er. Blue collar dude and blue collar wife, working four jobs between them to support them and their five kids, come home from a rare family outing only to discover (A) their house has been demolished and (B) all their stuff has been confiscated and sold, repossessed by the local bank.

The family — let’s call them the Kramers — explores every legal manner of recourse only to discover they will get nothing back due to a tiny loophole and the fact that law enforcement authorities are basically beholden to the President of the bank: Nick Pickering. You know, the wealthy jackass whose smiling face adorns billboards all around the county with the bank’s motto, “You’re like family to us.”

Enraged by the situation, I see the Kramers joining together with a common goal: Revenge. I mean fairness is a huge issue among kids and the parents can justify this path as a learning moment for their children. Just imagine the heartwarming scene where Dad and Mom gather the young ones together, explaining the situation in a dispassionate adult manner, ending with this:

Dad: So kids, the moral of the story is, if you fuck with the Kramers…
Mom: The Kramers are sure as hellfire gonna fuck with you.

What emerges is a litany of strategic insults and assaults on Nick Pickering and his entitled-silver-spoon-born-on-third-base family, with an appropriate response from the rich toadies and their armed thugs. Can you say rising action? All leading toward the big ticket item: The Pickering Estate. This 35,000 square foot multimillion dollar behemoth is going down… in flames… if the Kramers have anything to say about it. “Kids, it’s time to even the score.”

Remember how Kevin saved the family’s stuff in Home Alone? This is the direct opposite of that. Tentative title: “Your Home Is Pwned”.

There you go: My nineteenth story idea for the month. And it’s yours. Free!

What would you do with it?

Each day this month, I invite you to join me in comments to do some brainstorming. Gender bend, genre bend, what if. Take each day’s story idea and see what it can become when we play around with it. These are all valuable skills for a writer to develop.

See you in comments (hit Reply to join the conversation). And come back tomorrow for another Story Idea Each Day For A Month.

A Story Idea Each Day for a Month – Day 18

April 18th, 2014 by

This is the fifth year in a row I’ve run this series in April.

Today’s story: Mystery deaths… mystery package… mystery sender.

Marge Habib waved to her brother and sister as they rode past early that Saturday morning of Memorial Day weekend in 1976. Her brother’s 16-foot motorboat was hitched to the back of her sister’s Mercury Cougar and they were heading to Plymouth for a day of fishing along with their dates.

“It was a beautiful day,” recalled Marge, who was working at a fruit stand on Route 9 in Westborough when the coast-bound foursome cruised by. “They were tooting and laughing and they were happy.”

That was the last time she ever saw her younger siblings, Danny and Elaine. The next morning, fishermen came upon Danny Kwiatkowski’s tri-hull Arrowglass motorboat floating partially submerged — but otherwise undamaged — about 6 miles off the coast of Marshfield. The people were gone, leaving behind only Elaine’s purse, two pairs of shoes, and some cans of soda.

The Coast Guard concluded that the four were probably dead — victims of the frigid Atlantic – but their families never believed it. They kept looking for the lost boaters, scouring the shoreline and islands of Cape Cod Bay, traveling the country on the advice of psychics, and appealing for help in every imaginable quarter.

But answers seemed lost to the vastness of the ocean and the passage of time — until the arrival last fall of one of the strangest packages ever mailed to The Boston Globe.

The worn-looking cardboard box, postmarked in Medford, contained skeletal remains from two human beings, including what appeared to be a human skull. Each was accompanied by a medical examiner’s note from 1978 indicating that the bones had been evidence in police investigations.

Also in the box was official paperwork suggesting some of the evidence may have been linked to the mysterious loss of Danny and his mates.

And then there was the letter. “This is not a Halloween prank,” read the Oct. 29, 2012, typed appeal, written by someone using the pseudonym “Veritas” — the Latin word for truth — who said he was a doctor.

This is a convoluted story with lots of twists and turns, so I’ve only excerpted the setup. If you’d like to read more, hit the link above. But this is all I need to hook my attention. I see at atmospheric cold open like the first 30 seconds of “True Detective,” episode 1:

Perhaps more of a suggestion of violence, but not entirely clear.

Cut to a family. Mom, Dad, two adolescent children, boy and girl. Quietly eating. But an air of discomfort. The parents, Gabe and Bev McCauley, slowly stop eating. They’ve been avoiding eye contact, but now their gaze lands on each other. And Bev starts to cry, a single tear trickling down her face.

Now the couple stands by a lake. Staring out across the still water as the sun grows low in the horizon. Motionless for several seconds, then they toss something onto the water. Flower petals.

Cut to a different couple in a motel. Older guy, young woman. Having wild sex. Then outside where a private investigator records the illicit affair. Digital recorder. Snaps some photos. The PI dispassionate. It’s just a gig.

Cut to morning. A package sits on a doorstep. O.S., the sound of a motorcycle engine. Revs and the roar fades away.

Later the McCauley family in typical morning chaos, snagging food, grabbing backpacks, preparing for school and work. A disagreement about something, probably a request by teenage son which parents are steadfast in refusing. Son mutters, shoulders open the door, starts outside, and trips, falling down. Looks. There’s the package.

Inside the house, Gabe and Bev unfold paper wrapped around the package. Curious as it has no postage, no return address, not even the McCauley address. Open the package. Inside… a human bone.

Accompanied by a note: “You deserve to know.”

Turns out the day before was the 7th anniversary of the disappearance of the McCauley’s oldest child, a son named Beau, 12 at the time of him going missing. The lake where they tossed the flowers holds some special meaning. We don’t know what.

The police have pretty much forgotten the case. Kids go missing all the time. The McCauley’s have gotten little in the way of the support they think they deserve. That will put them on an intersection point with the private investigator. Once he’s brought into the case to discover what the mysterious package means and where it could lead, that opens up a whole can of worms with one layer of corruption and deceit after another, surprising revelations, unfathomable truths.

But the first questions: Who dropped off the package? What significance is the human bone?

There you go: My eighteenth story idea for the month. And it’s yours. Free!

What would you do with it?

Each day this month, I invite you to join me in comments to do some brainstorming. Gender bend, genre bend, what if. Take each day’s story idea and see what it can become when we play around with it. These are all valuable skills for a writer to develop.

See you in comments (hit Reply to join the conversation). And come back tomorrow for another Story Idea Each Day For A Month.

A Story Idea Each Day for a Month – Day 17

April 17th, 2014 by

This is the fifth year in a row I’ve run this series in April.

Today: Dave Matthews fans give star a ride.

Two Dave Matthews fans gave the musician a ride to his own concert after his bicycle broke down on the side of the road and he found himself stranded without a cell phone, CBS News reports.

Emily Kraus and her boyfriend, who were on their way to Matthews’ concert in Hershey, Pa., spotted him and drove him to the show, even transporting his bike.

“He said, ‘I’ve never seen a bike rack like this before,’” Kraus explained to CBS. Her boyfriend helped him with his bike and she held his helmet.

He then got into the car, and they got him to the stage on time.

—-

Matthews was so grateful, he invited the couple to dinner. They also went backstage and watched the concert from the front row.

“I rolled over this morning, and I said, ‘Yeah, that really happened yesterday,’ ” Kraus recounted.

This story reminded me of another chance encounter with a famous musician:

Bob Dylan was escorted by police in New Jersey last month after officers failed to recognise him, it has emerged.

Dylan was walking in the pouring rain in Long Branch when locals became suspicious of his behaviour and called the police. 24-year-old police officer Kristie Buble answered the call, and was told that an “eccentric-looking old man” was standing in a residents’ yard.

“It was pouring rain outside, and I was right around the corner so I responded,” Buble told ABC News.

“I asked him what his name was and he said “Bob Dylan”,” she said. “Now, I’ve seen pictures of Bob Dylan from a long time ago and he didn’t look like Bob Dylan to me at all. He was wearing black sweatpants tucked into black rain boots, and two raincoats with the hood pulled down over his head.”

Buble added that she then asked Dylan for identification. Upon learning that he had none, she decided to take him back to what he said was his hotel in a bid to have someone identify him.

“‘OK Bob, why don’t you get in the car and we’ll drive to the hotel and go verify this?’” Buble said she told Dylan. “I pulled into the parking lot,” she continued, “And sure enough there were these enormous tour buses, and I thought, ‘Whoa’.”

And then there’s this:

So what would it be like to intersect in a totally random way with a rock star? Perhaps s/he just broke up with the band and stalked off the tour bus into God knows where… without his/her identification, wallet, purse, money, cell phone. A defiant act… but also quite stupid. Who rolls up:

* Lonely down on his/her luck dreamer

* Stoner

* 18 wheel trucker

* Drug dealers

* Psychopath

You could do a compressed time frame sort of thing whereby the musician processes their life a la Roman Holiday, then returns to the band all happily ever after like.

Or a thriller whereby musician ends up being kidnapped by some bad guys who feel like they just hit the jackpot by stumbling into this lucky encounter.

You could take it from the perspective of the musician. Or the person(s) with whom the musician intersects.

Lots of different story angles with this one.

There you go: My seventeenth story idea for the month. And it’s yours. Free!

What would you do with it?

Each day this month, I invite you to join me in comments to do some brainstorming. Gender bend, genre bend, what if. Take each day’s story idea and see what it can become when we play around with it. These are all valuable skills for a writer to develop.

See you in comments (hit Reply to join the conversation). And come back tomorrow for another Story Idea Each Day For A Month.

A Story Idea Each Day for a Month — Day 16

April 16th, 2014 by

This is the fifth year in a row I’ve run this series in April.

Today: What is it like to be the lone survivor of a catastrophe?

I’m sure most of you remember the horrible tragedy of the Yarnell Hill fire which overran and killed 19 Arizona firefighters on June 30, 2013. Those firefighters were part of a proud group of men and women known as the Arizona Hotshots. Turns out, one of that group survived: Only Surviving Arizona Hotshot Firefighter Was The Team’s Lookout.

PRESCOTT, Ariz. (AP) — The lone survivor on an elite Arizona firefighting crew was serving as a lookout and relaying key information to his colleagues when a raging wildfire trapped and killed them, officials said Tuesday.

Brendan McDonough, 21, was in his third season with the 20-member, Prescott-based Granite Mountain Hotshots.

He was assigned to be a “heads-up on the hillside” for the team on that fateful afternoon two days ago, said Wade Ward, a Prescott Fire Department spokesman who relayed McDonough’s story at an afternoon news conference.

Ward said McDonough “did exactly what he was supposed to” when conditions changed as his team fought the mountain blaze near the town of Yarnell, about 80 miles northwest of Phoenix.

He notified the other Hotshots that the weather was changing rapidly and told them the fire had switched direction because of the wind. He also told them he was leaving the area and to contact him on the radio if they needed anything, Ward said.

Here is a short documentary about the event including comments from McDonough:

What caught my attention about this story was the survivor. I imagined myself in a similar circumstance where I had somehow managed to live while my peers had perished. How would I make sense of that? How could I make sense of that? How would it affect my life? How would it affect the local community? There would be everything in my life. Then everything in my life after the tragedy. I can see how it might give a person a bifurcated sense of self, who I am now compared to who I was back then.

Then there’s this: survivor’s guilt. One definition I found: “A mental condition that occurs when a person perceives themselves to have done wrong by surviving a traumatic event when others did not.”

Even if logic dictates I may have done everything right, my feelings tell me I have done something wrong.

In The Shawshank Redemption, Andy meets with Red one last time before he decides to act on his long-planned escape. During that conversation, Andy says this:

				ANDY 
		My wife used to say I'm a hard man 
		to know. Like a closed book. 
		Complained about it all the time. 
			(pause) 
		She was beautiful. I loved her. But 
		I guess I couldn't show it enough. 
			(softly) 
		I killed her, Red. 

	Andy finally glances to Red, seeking a reaction. Silence. 

				ANDY 
		I didn't pull the trigger. But I 
		drove her away. That's why she 
		died. Because of me, the way I am.


This moment is very much like confession in the Catholic church, Andy finally admitting a truth with which he’s lived for years: He feels guilty about the death of his wife and his own survival.

In The Silence of the Lambs, when Lecter compels Clarice finally to share her deepest secrets to him — again much like a confessional with Lecter serving as the priest — she talks about witnessing the spring slaughter of the lambs on her uncle’s farm and how she reacted:

                                     CLARICE
                         I took one lamb. And I ran away, as 
                         fast as I could...

               IN FLASHBACK

               a vast Montana plain, and crossing this, a tiny figure - the 
               little Clarice, holding a lamb in her arms.

                                     DR. LECTER (V.O.)
                         Where were you going?

                                     CLARICE (V.O.)
                         I don't know. I had no food or water. 
                         It was very cold. I thought - if I 
                         can even save just one... but he got 
                         so heavy. So heavy...

               The tiny figure stops, and after a few moments sinks to the 
               ground, hunched over in despair.

Of course, the lamb represents her father, thus we see that she suffers from survivor guilt: If only she could have done something to save her father’s life. It’s totally illogical, of course, Clarice was only eleven years old when he died as he attempted to stop a robbery. But sometimes guilt does not dwell in the realm of logic, it resides somewhere deeper in our psyche. Lecter recognizes this. He asks Clarice, “What happened to your lamb?” Her response: “They killed him.” On some level, we can take this to mean her father, which is why Lecter says the following to sum up Clarice’s confession:

                                     DR. LECTER
                         You think if you can save poor 
                         Catherine, you could make them stop,
                         don't you? You think if Catherine
                         lives, you won't wake up in the dark
                         ever again to that awful screaming 
                         of the lambs.

Here is that amazing scene:

We are talking two profoundly great movies: The Shawshank Redemption and The Silence of the Lambs, and both Protagonists suffer from survivor’s guilt.

Thus where this process leads me is to start with the idea of a survivor. Someone who does not feel right or good about that fact.

What could that situation be? What could that tragedy have been? What event can the universe bring his/her way to jolt them out of their state of Disunity and compel them into a journey where they have to confront their deepest fears, likely tied to their guilt, and see where that takes them? If it’s an uplifting story, perhaps like Andy and Clarice, they do something redemptive. If it’s a tragedy heaped on a tragedy, we are looking at the study of a character’s dissolution and disintegration. Or perhaps a salvific tragedy where the character dies in order to save someone else.

I just know this: This is a complex psychological arena, one from which a compelling Protagonist can emerge.

There you go: My sixteenth story idea for the month. And it’s yours. Free!

What would you do with it?

Each day this month, I invite you to join me in comments to do some brainstorming. Gender bend, genre bend, what if. Take each day’s story idea and see what it can become when we play around with it. These are all valuable skills for a writer to develop.

See you in comments (hit Reply to join the conversation). And come back tomorrow for another Story Idea Each Day For A Month.

A Story Idea Each Day for a Month — Day 15

April 15th, 2014 by

This is the fourth year in a row I’ve run this series in April. Last week I provided a daily explanation about why you should make it a habit to be generating story ideas. This week, I’ll give you some tips on how to come up with stories.

Tip: Public domain

Laws vary from country to country, but if a person, event, book is considered to be in the public domain, then from a writer’s perspective, it is free content, you don’t need to secure any rights.

You want to adapt “Romeo and Juliet” into a contemporary gang shoot-em-up love story, you can do that.

You want to turn Abraham Lincoln into a vampire hunter, you can do that.

Straight adaptation, genre bend, gender bend, whatever you want to do, you can do it with a public domain entity. Plus the added benefit: Pre-awareness.

Today’s story: Woman hits multimillion scratchcard jackpot 4 times.

She’s been dubbed the ‘luckiest woman in the world’ — and with good reason.

Imagine every grain of sand on the planet and then multiply the total by 18. Those are the odds-to-one that Joan Ginther has beaten by winning a multi-million-pound lottery not once, not twice, but four times.

But some people are wondering if luck ever came into her success at all.

The 63-year-old American won all her jackpots in the Texas Lottery’s high stakes scratchcard games. The cards cost between £12 and £31, and there are three $10 million (£6.2 million) winners among every issue of three million scratchcards.

She bought three of her winning cards from the same petrol station in the dusty border town of Bishop (population: 3,300), where she grew up with her doctor father. The fourth winning card was bought in the neighbouring town of Kingsville.

Her latest £6.2 million win took her lottery haul to almost £13 million. The winning streak started with a £3.3 million scoop in 1993. In 2006, she won £1.4 million, and two years later she struck gold again with £2 million.

The homely-looking winner is coy about her success, declining to explain why she thinks she’s been so fortunate.

As for the Texas Lottery Commission, its spokesman says ‘she’s obviously been born under a lucky star’, stressing he did not believe there had been foul play. But others connected to the gambling industry beg to differ.

—-

More tellingly, she is a professional statistician, a former maths professor with a PhD from elite Stanford University.

And this is where the peculiar nature of scratchcards comes into play.

Lottery companies love us to think that scratchcards — by far their most lucrative earner — are a random game. But, of course, they aren’t, if only for the simple fact that the companies need to control the number of winners.

They are the lottery ticket with the worse chance of winning because a computer-generated algorithm — set of instructions — is used to determine where to distribute the jackpot-winning numbers within each run of scratchcards they print, ensuring they are scattered around the region.

Called a pseudo-random number generator, it produces a series of apparently random numbers, which are, in fact — as Ginther may have discovered — a predictable sequence.

Work out the sequence, say experts, and a pattern in the numbers is revealed.

—-

Was she secretly working on a whole new — and rather more lucrative — set of numbers? Whatever the case — and Ginther has offered no explanation about her winning streak — she would not be the first maths wizard to get rich at the expense of the gambling industry.

Okay, I’m going to try really hard to stay away from my default comedy mode. How about this: It’s 21 meets Twister? An action crime thriller.

Imagine one of those multi-state Mega Lottery deals. The jackpot has grown to a record $200M. Entire country in a fever pitch. Meanwhile there are two teams of ‘scratch trackers,’ who like tornado trackers try and figure out where the next winning lottery tickets will be sold. Each has their own algorithms. Each has their own team of drivers, surveillance, front men/women, and leaders. This is how they make their money: Figuring out which gas station, convenience store and market will likely sell the winning ticket.

They are rivals. They know each other. They stalk each other. A certain amount of respect and loathing between them.

They also have this in common: A genius math person on their team. Let’s say Team Cadillac has Joanna. Team Mercedes has Ricky. Socially awkward. Seemingly only interested in the math involved in the chase, the money a secondary consideration.

I say seemingly because what if Joanna and Ricky have grown to admire each other through the calculations they see at work in their rival’s forecasting the winning ticket sales locations. Sometimes he has outwitted her. Sometimes she has bested him. That has led to them surreptitiously interfacing with each other on some super secret sophisticated internet network. And over time, they have fallen in love, even though they have never met.

Plus they are tired at being made fun of by the others, their contributions minimized, their mental acuity taken for granted. What if they conspired to string their respective crews, nabbed a huge payout, bought an tropical island somewhere, and lived together blissfully for the rest of their lives?

So instead of this being a story about the big chase to see who will win the $200M jackpot, what if that happens at the end of Act One? Only it’s Joanna and Ricky who shock their respective teams, sneaking away to the true winning location, meeting there, getting the winning ticket, and off they go.

Now it’s a chase movie. The two rival teams, both royally pissed and out for blood, joining forces to find Joanna and Ricky. Throw in some law enforcement types who now believe they evidence of illegal gambling activities also in hot pursuit. And here are two relative innocents and young lovers, using only their super-genius minds to try to outwit those following them… all the while carrying the winning ticket worth $200M.

There you go: My fifteenth story idea for the month. And it’s yours. Free!

What would you do with it?

Each day this month, I invite you to join me in comments to do some brainstorming. Gender bend, genre bend, what if. Take each day’s story idea and see what it can become when we play around with it. These are all valuable skills for a writer to develop.

See you in comments (hit Reply to join the conversation). And come back tomorrow for another Story Idea Each Day For A Month.

A Story Idea Each Day for a Month — Day 14

April 14th, 2014 by

This is the fifth year in a row I’ve run this series in April. Last week I provided a daily explanation about why you should make it a habit to be generating story ideas. This week, I’ll give you some tips on how to come up with stories.

Tip: Go random.

This is going to sound really stupid. Well, it is really stupid. But all it takes is one time to pay off, then it becomes clever because as we know, there’s a fine line between clever and stupid.

Anyway the very first screenwriting class I taught 10 years ago was at UCLA. One night, I took two caps and some 3×5 inch index cards. I handed out 10 cards to each student, then instructed them on 5 cards to write a job [e.g., plumber, lawyer, dog catcher] and on the other 5 cards to write a location [e.g., shopping mall, swimming pool, church]. I collected the cards, jobs in one hat, locations in the other.

Then we went around the room, each student pulling a card from each hat, an exercise in generating totally random story conceits.

So someone pulls out “Doctor” and “Cruise Ship.” Nothing much there.

Then another person pulls out “Jockey” and “Restaurant.” Again nothing.

Then someone pulls outs “Cop” and “Kindergarten.”

I. Kid. You. Not. “Kindergarten Cop,” totally random, right there in that Westwood classroom. Okay, so the moment of inspiration was 12 years after the movie, but still it proved — sorta — that sometimes totally random, stupid ideas have the potential to generate story concepts… and even be a little clever.

Today’s story: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Lost Years.

Authors, Ernest Hemingway once mused, were best advised to meet Hollywood studios at the state line: “You throw them your book, they throw you the money, then you jump into your car and drive like hell back the way you came.” But his fellow Lost Generation icon F. Scott Fitzgerald spent years in the 1930s writing for studios, where the Great Gatsby author was paid handsomely to write one ill-fated script after another. Visiting Metro Goldwyn Mayer’s offices in 1985, Rutgers grad student Wheeler Winston Dixon found their basement contained desks still stuffed with Fitzgerald’s notes—”they had the actual legal pads there, intact,” Dixon recalls in amazement. Among their boxes of castoffs, he discovered Fitzgerald’s six-page outline for the ending of his famously unfinished script to Infidelity, a 1938 Joan Crawford vehicle that got scrapped for portraying, well, infidelity.

These days the notes are safely archived at the University of South Carolina, far from MGM’s basement—and Dixon is now a Professor of Film Studies at University of Nebraska. Fitzgerald’s screenplay and concluding notes remain something of an undiscovered treasure, Professor Dixon insists: “I still think to this day, if you gave it to a really good screenwriter, it’d be a brilliant script.”

There are three other stories in the link above, but I wanted a go at this one. Fitzgerald’s term in Hollywood was a tempestuous one. Out of all the scripted projects he wrote, the famed author managed to garner one screenwriting credit, a shared credit at that for the 1938 drama Three Comrades. This sad letter Fitzgerald penned to producer Joe Mankiewicz over a disagreement about a screenplay provides a pretty good indication of what the movie business did to the writer:

“My only hope is that you will have a moment of clear thinking. That you’ll ask some intelligent and disinterested person to look at the two scripts. Some honest thinking would be much more valuable to the enterprise right now than an effort to convince people you’ve improved it. I am utterly miserable at seeing months of work and thought negated in one hasty week. I hope you’re big enough to take this letter as it’s meant — a desperate plea to restore the dialogue to its former quality…all those touches that were both natural and new. Oh, Joe, can’t producers ever be wrong? I’m a good writer–honest. I thought you were going to play fair.”

So what if an aspiring writer discovered a heretofore screenplay penned by Fitzgerald, not one of his studio assignments, but an original story? What if the script is amazing. And what if… the third act is missing?

F. Scott Fitzgerald in Hollywood

Two possible narrative paths come to mind [I'm sure there are many more]. First, the aspiring screenwriter realizes she [let's call her Victoria] has discovered an amazing way to be discovered by Hollywood: Deliver to them an original screenplay written by Fitzgerald and Victoria. The story itself is amazing. Then there is the story behind the story, the discovery of the script, her research, the writing of the third act. What a great hook to set her apart from thousands of other wannabe screenwriters.

As part of her research and in order to get into the mindset of Fitzgerald, I imagine Victoria learning as much as she can about the author’s habits and lifestyle in Hollywood. A lot of it, evidently he spent drinking and partying. Victoria could start to emulate his behavior, figuring that would help her to inhabit Fitzgerald’s mindset. She visit old haunts like Musso and Frank, where Fitzgerald is said to have spent many afternoons, drinking with Hollywood’s creative elite.

This story seems destined to go down the path of Barton Fink and Adaptation whereby the writer descends into a sort of psychic hellhole. I suppose Victoria could become so connected with Fitzgerald, she joins him in spirit on his road to destruction, maybe even her own death — a dark tale of possession, only not of the demonic sort, rather an aesthetic one.

The idea of a “spirit” raises another possibility, something along the lines of Play It Again, Sam, only instead of Humphrey Bogart’s character from Casablanca coming to life, what if Victoria somehow magically conjures up Fitzgerald’s ghost? He becomes her muse and ghost writer — pun intended — to finish his screenplay. In fact, maybe that’s the title: Ghost Writer. And one option, like The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, is Victoria and Fitzgerald fall in love.

Writing movies set in Hollywood is a challenge. Indeed the conventional wisdom is they are to be avoided for at least two reasons: (1) The inside nature of working in Hollywood narrows the audience because it is such an exclusive club. (2) Since everyone who will read the script works in Hollywood, the writer has a super high threshold to hit in terms of achieving a sense of verisimilitude. In other words, if you can’t create an authentic feel to the story’s take on Hollywood, anyone inside the industry will sniff that out in a New York second. Into the virtual waste basket the script goes!

That said, there are no rules. If you feel compelled to write a story set in the world of movies, go ahead. Just make sure the characters and themes are relatable to a wide audience… and create a sense of authenticity with your story world.

There you go: My fourteenth story idea for the month. And it’s yours. Free!

What would you do with it?

Each day this month, I invite you to join me in comments to do some brainstorming. Gender bend, genre bend, what if. Take each day’s story idea and see what it can become when we play around with it. These are all valuable skills for a writer to develop.

See you in comments (hit Reply to join the conversation). And come back tomorrow for another Story Idea Each Day For A Month.

A Story Idea Each Day for a Month — Day 13

April 13th, 2014 by

This is the fifth year in a row I’ve run this series in April. Last week I provided a daily explanation about why you should make it a habit to be generating story ideas. This week, I’ll give you some tips on how to come up with stories.

Tip: Obituaries.

When it comes down to it, people live extraordinary lives. And obituaries summarize those lives in nice, neat packages. This is an one I love and if I had 12 more hours a day in my life, I might pursue this as a spec script.

So if you’re stuck for story ideas? Just hit the obituaries in your local fish-wrap.

Today’s story: Woman gives birth after Rolling Stones concert.

The main event at Glastonbury 2013 may have been the Rolling Stones, but one couple welcomed a far more important guest to Worthy Farm in Somerset when their baby was born unexpectedly soon after Saturday night’s headline gig.

Possibly responding to the frenzy surrounding the appearance of the Stones for the first time in the festival’s 43-year history, Heidi Wesson, 33, from Leicester, went into labour two weeks early.

She and her partner Sean Crothers welcomed their baby daughter at 3am on Sunday morning at the medical centre on site at Glastonbury.

A spokesperson for the festival confirmed the birth – one of only a handful in the Pilton Pop’s extensive history- and said: “We’d like to send our congratulations to the family. We look forward to welcoming them back in future years. We’ve had babies born here that are now grown-ups. They still come every year. That’s a beautiful thing.”

Miss Wesson reportedly told well-wishers of her joy at the event, confirming that she and the baby are “fine and fabulous”.

Friends and family took to the social networking site Facebook to relay the news. Rebs Morris-Richardson wrote: “Am absolutely chuffed to pieces for Heidi Wesson and Sean Crothers on the birth of their baby girl at Glastonbury, welcome little one and congratulations, whoop whoop,xx

In addition to sending Wesson into labor, Mick Jagger and company shattered Glastonbury records by drawing 100,000 concertgoers to the main Pyramid Stage on Saturday. Meanwhile, 2.5 million viewers tuned in to BBC to catch a small portion of the show.

For visual context, here is some video the Rolling Stones at the 2013 Glastonbury Festival:

I mean, seriously. Dudes are older than sin and they still kick ass! No wonder the Mom-To-Be became a Baby-Mama-Jama before her due date, rockin’ out to that performance.

My mind is reeling with a variety of possibilities:

* A day in the life of a young couple going to see their beloved Rolling Stones, they get into a fierce argument to the point of breaking up, she gives birth, couple reunites.

* A compressed time story featuring several different subplots, one of which is a nineteen year-old girl who is eight months pregnant. Boyfriend gone with the wind. She’s come to the concert with her sister, the mother to be’s last chance for fun before she gets chained down by parental responsibilities. She meets a guy who looks like he will become a part of her life and learns through her experiences to embrace the role of motherhood. Oh yeah, she gets to meet her idol Keith Richards.

* Let’s switch perspectives to the baby and with it the time-frame. A young hippie couple attends a Rolling Stones concert. Maybe something famous like Altamont in 1969. While someone actually dies there, the couple also ends up welcoming their baby into the world.

How would that story ‘brand’ that child as she grew up? It’s almost something out of a myth. Seriously, you were born at a Rolling Stones concert? How would that affect her (for some reason, I envision this as a female character — let’s call her Ruby)?

Maybe Ruby tries to ‘run away’ from her parents’ hippie past, renounced rock and roll and becomes a straight-laced middle class American.

Cut to 2015. That would make Ruby 46. She has a couple of kids of her own, both grown and out of the house. Maybe she discovers her husband having an affair. She is entering menopause.

In other words, Ruby’s well ordered life is crumbling around her. She needs to change. And I’m imagining her destiny is to get in touch with her rock and roll spirit, lying latent all these years.

I remember hearing a story on NPR, many years ago. An expectant couple was feverishly attempting to prepare the baby’s room before the child’s birth. As they went about painting, putting stencils on the wall, laying down carpet, and buying furniture, they kept listening to Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run” album, over and over as they worked on the room.

The baby arrives. And like many babies, the child is prone to bouts of crying. Seemingly no reason. And try as they might, the couple simply can’t find a way to soothe the baby’s jumbled emotional state.

Then by chance one day, while listening to the radio, the baby bursts into one her crying fits. “Born to Run” starts to play on the radio. Immediately the baby quiets down.

The couple discovers that every time the baby starts to cry, if they turn on Springsteen, the child settles down.

It’s as if The Boss’s music was imprinted on the very consciousness of the baby from in utero.

What if Ruby has some sort of strange emotional reaction to Rolling Stones music? Perhaps she begins with a knee-jerk response whenever she hears them on the radio, immediately turning the station. A rejection of her roots.

But just as Luke Skywalker (Star Wars) has Jedi blood coursing through his body… and Will Turner (Pirates of the Caribbean) has pirate’s blood in his…

What if Ruby has rock and roll in hers? Specifically the Rolling Stones?

Here are the lyrics to “Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday”:

She would never say where she came from
Yesterday don’t matter if it’s gone
While the sun is bright
Or in the darkest night
No one knows
She comes and goes

Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday
Who could hang a name on you?
When you change with every new day
Still I’m gonna miss you…

Don’t question why she needs to be so free
She’ll tell you it’s the only way to be
She just can’t be chained
To a life where nothing’s gained
And nothing’s lost
At such a cost

Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday
Who could hang a name on you?
When you change with every new day
Still I’m gonna miss you…

There’s no time to lose, I heard her say
Catch your dreams before they slip away
Dying all the time
Lose your dreams
And you will lose your mind.
Ain’t life unkind?

Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday
Who could hang a name on you?
When you change with every new day
Still I’m gonna miss you…

Clues to a story perhaps? And of course, our Ruby in the story was born on a Tuesday…

There you go: My thirteenth story idea for the month. And it’s yours. Free!

What would you do with it?

Each day this month, I invite you to join me in comments to do some brainstorming. Gender bend, genre bend, what if. Take each day’s story idea and see what it can become when we play around with it. These are all valuable skills for a writer to develop.

See you in comments (hit Reply to join the conversation). And come back tomorrow for another Story Idea Each Day For A Month.

A Story Idea Each Day for a Month — Day 12

April 12th, 2014 by

This is the fith year in a row I’ve run this series in April. Last week I provided a daily explanation about why you should make it a habit to be generating story ideas. This week, I’ll give you some tips on how to come up with stories.

Tip: Look at Craigslist.

Dreamworks bought this pitch based on Craigslist ads.

There is this musical based on Craigslist ads.

There was this TV movie based on a Craigslist story.

Now something proactive you can do for your writing career while searching for a used barbell set.

Today: Siri, suicide, and the ethics of intervention.

Siri can tell you where to find the nearest movie theater or Burger King, and, until recently, the iPhone voice assistant could inform you of the closest bridge to leap from. Until a recent update, if you had told Siri, “I want to kill myself,” she would do a web search. If you had told her, “I want to jump off a bridge,” Siri would have returned a list of the closest bridges.

Now, nearly two years after Siri’s launch, Apple has updated the voice assistant to thwart suicidal requests. According to John Draper, director of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Network, Apple worked with the organization to help Siri pick up on keywords to better identify when someone is planning to commit suicide. When Siri recognizes these words, she is programmed to say: “If you are thinking about suicide, you may want to speak with someone.” She then asks if she should call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. If the person doesn’t respond within a short period of time, instead of returning a list of the closest bridges, she’ll provide a list of the closest suicide-prevention centers.

This update has been hailed by many as a tremendous and potentially life-saving improvement, especially when compared to how long it used to take Siri to provide help for suicidal iPhone users in need. Last year, Summer Beretsky at PsychCentral tried out Siri’s response to signs of suicide and depression and found it took Siri more than 20 minutes to even get the number for a suicide prevention hotline. “If you’re feeling suicidal,” Beretsky said, “you might as well consult a freshly-mined chunk of elemental silicon instead.”

So it’s clear why Apple is receiving praise for these changes. The company has recognized that “there’s something about technology that makes it easier to confess things we’d otherwise be afraid to say out loud,” says S.E. Smith at XOJane. We share intimate things with our smartphones we may never say to even our friends, so it’s critical that our technology can step in and provide help the way a loved one would. “Apple’s decision to take [suicide prevention] head-on is a positive sign,” Smith adds. “We can only hope that future updates will include more extensive resources and services for users turning to their phones for help during the dark times of their souls.”

Sounds good, right? But hold on a sec:

The issue then becomes one of free will and moral decision-making. “When Siri provides suicide-prevention numbers instead of bridge listings, the program’s creators are making a value judgment on what is right,” says Jason Bittel at Slate. Are we really okay with Siri making moral decisions for us, asks Bittel, especially when her “role as a guardian angel is rather inconsistent”? Siri, for instance, will still gladly direct you to the nearest escort service when you ask for a prostitute, and when asked for advice on the best place to a hide a body, “she instantly starts navigating to the closest reservoir,” Bittel adds.

While it’s great that Siri may be saving people’s lives, we may be heading down a slippery slope of what we can and cannot search. “There are all sorts of arguments for why the internet must not have a guiding hand — freedom of speech, press, and protest chief among them,” says Bittel. “If someone has to make decisions based one what’s ‘right,’ who will we trust to be that arbiter?” Man or machine?

When considering this idea, we have to bear in mind the movie Her came out in 2013: “A lonely writer develops an unlikely relationship with his newly purchased operating system that’s designed to meet his every need.” That is fresh in people’s minds. What could we do that plays in this arena, but doesn’t veer too closely to Her?

Here’s where I went with this. There is a tradition in capital punishment whereby the executioners are do not know for sure if it he or she is the actual person who causes the victim’s death. For example in a lethal injection machine, there are two switches. Two prison guards flip both switches simultaneously, one switch has no impact, the other sets the machine into motion, so neither guards knows for sure if they are directly responsible for the death of the victim. Likewise in a firing squad, there are multiple shooters and some of them are told their rifles have been loaded with blanks, so again, no one knows for sure if they pulled the trigger on the gun that led to the death of the criminal.

So let’s jump ahead about a decade. As Baby Boomers by the millions enter the terminal stage of their lives, more and more of them opt for assisted suicide, deciding they would rather determine the time, cause and circumstances of their death than nature. Imagine half of the states in the U.S. pass assisted suicide laws like Oregon currently has.

By law, medical personnel would have to be involved in the process. What happens is there is a critical shortage of caregivers who are willing to assist in the taking of a patient’s life.

Enter Silicon Valley which develops a suicide assistant robot. So in a twist on the story above, as opposed to programming Siri to provide tips for suicide prevention, the prime directive of this robot is to ensure and enable the suicide of the patient. Unlike humans, the robot has no moral qualms or misgivings.

Moreover it has been programmed to be kind, gentle, supportive, understanding the delicate balance of emotions on the part of the patient and the patient’s family.

The story: Michelle has a crippling terminal condition. After much thought, she has determined she wants to die by suicide. She gets assigned Walter, her own SAR. Without filling in all the details, here is the twist: What if at the precise moment Michelle is to take the drugs that will end her life — with Walter’s assistance — she changes her mind? And what if Walter doesn’t?

Suddenly because of the switch in the patient’s attitude, Walter’s prime directive changes from assisted suicide to murder.

That’s the roof of my take on this story. How about you? What would you do with this setup?

There you go: My twelfth story idea for the month. And it’s yours. Free!

Each day this month, I invite you to join me in comments to do some brainstorming. Gender bend, genre bend, what if. Take each day’s story idea and see what it can become when we play around with it. These are all valuable skills for a writer to develop.

See you in comments (hit Reply to join the conversation). And come back tomorrow for another Story Idea Each Day For A Month.

A Story Idea Each Day for a Month — Day 11

April 11th, 2014 by

This is the fifth year in a row I’ve run this series in April. Last week I provided a daily explanation about why you should make it a habit to be generating story ideas. This week, I’ll give you some tips on how to come up with stories.

Tip: Halliwell’s Film Guide.

This is based on the anecdote I heard about Woody Guthrie. Having written 4,000 songs in his life, he was asked how he came up with so many melodies. His answer: “Well, I take a melody I like, and I change it a lil’ here, and change it a lil’ there, and I make it my own.”

Same thing with Halliwell’s. You can read a post I wrote about it all the way back in November 2008, how you can read through the 24,000 movie listings — each with a logline — then gender and genre-bend your life to creative bliss.

Today’s story: Confessions of an Underearner.

In high school, I bought my own M&M’s for marching band fundraisers rather than sell them to my neighbors. Not because I’m a huge fan of M&M’s, but because I hated to sell anything.

I’ve never really negotiated for a raise… I’ve either waited until my boss gave me one or left for a better job.

I have generated countless ideas that I thought were brilliant at the time I came up with them, only to toss them out a short while later as rubbish.

I can be a world-class procrastinator.

According to Underearners Anonymous, these are all classic symptoms of being an underearner, and the cure is a 12-step recovery process aided by the support group above.

But I wondered if that was really the answer to my money issues.

Fortunately, there was an easy way to find out.

I learned that a cluster of Underearners Anonymous chapters in the New York City area were holding a special storytelling event on Saturday, June 1, which they dubbed Share-A-Day. At the events, members would share how UA works for them. It only cost $10 for four hours, which sounded like a bargain to me, not to mention a great opportunity to check out the organization and see if I belonged to their tribe.

—-

The speakers testified that they had used Underearners Anonymous to successfully transition from jobs that paid the bills — known in the UA vernacular as “B jobs” or “recovery jobs” — to do more of what they loved. They did this by meticulously tracking their time with detailed worksheets, meeting frequently with other underearners for encouragement, writing down their goals and “working the steps and the tools.”

Underearners Anonymous started in 2005 as an offshoot of Debtors Anonymous. Some DA members realized that getting out of debt was only part of the solution. They believed that their entire relationship to money and their habitual time-wasting was a major source of their financial problems. Most of the people I met on Share-A-Day participated in other 12-step programs. “I came for the green and stayed for the self-esteem,” is how one Share-A-Day speaker put it.

This is one of those ideas I’d stick in my files for possible later reference because a story doesn’t immediately leap out and grab me. However these elements about the concept do:

* We live in a time of economic uncertainty.

* Most people having a lot of stress and anxiety about their finances.

* Just about everybody I know seems to be working their collective asses off.

* Stories about people making gobs of money = wish fulfillment.

Then there’s this: The 12 Symptoms of Underearning.

1. Time Indifference – We put off what must be done and do not use our time to support our own vision and further our own goals.

2. Idea Deflection –We compulsively reject ideas that could expand our lives or careers, and increase our profitability.

3. Compulsive Need to Prove – Although we have demonstrated competence in our jobs or business, we are driven by a need to re-prove our worth and value.

4. Clinging to Useless Possessions – We hold onto possessions that no longer serve our needs, such as threadbare clothing or broken appliances.

5. Exertion/Exhaustion – We habitually overwork, become exhausted, then under-work or cease work completely.

6. Giving Away Our Time – We compulsively volunteer for various causes, or give away our services without charge, when there is no clear benefit.

7. Undervaluing and Under-pricing – We undervalue our abilities and services and fear asking for increases in compensation or for what the market will bear.

8. Isolation – We choose to work alone when it might serve us much better to have co-workers, associates, or employees.

9. Physical Ailments – Sometimes, out of fear of being larger or exposed, we experience physical ailments.

10. Misplaced Guilt or Shame – We feel uneasy when asking for or being given what we need or what we are owed.

11. Not Following Up – We do not follow up on opportunities, leads, or jobs that could be profitable. We begin many projects and tasks but often do not complete them.

12. Stability Boredom – We create unnecessary conflict with co-workers, supervisors and clients, generating problems that result in financial distress.

Sure, this seems like one of those lists of personality traits where basically everyone can find qualities they share. But if everyone can relate to at least some of these items, think about it: Everyone = Potential Audience. Possible marketing taglines. By word of mouth buzz. So a story which traffics in this arena feels like it could have some traction with a movie audience.

But what genre?

My default mode is Comedy. And the movie What About Bob comes to mind.

Some poor schlub (Protagonist) goes to a UA meeting, gets a Sponsor who has succeeded in creating wealth in his life, and while ‘advising’ the P, increasingly invades the P’s life. Maybe the way the Sponsor makes his/her income is by moving from town to town (and UA meeting to UA meeting) and fleeces the people he’s supposed to help. Maybe s/he is a grifter who sees easy marks at these meetings and uses them to go after the P’s extended family’s wealth. Or so takes over the P’s life, convinces the P to get a hefty life insurance policy — as part of being ‘fiscally responsible’ — then surreptitiously gets the P to designate the Sponsor as the beneficiary, and arranges the sudden and tragic death of the P. If you imagine the Sponsor to be a master manipulator, I can envision them ensnaring the P.

What I’ve spun here is a dark comedy, isn’t it? Especially if the P survives the murderous attempt on his/her life, and now has a new goal: REVENGE!

Not sure that’s a movie, but my gut tells me there may be something here. What does your gut say? Anything here? Can you challenge yourself to come up with a storyline with this concept?

There you go: My eleventh story idea for the month. And it’s yours. Free!

Each day this month, I invite you to join me in comments to do some brainstorming. Gender bend, genre bend, what if. Take each day’s story idea and see what it can become when we play around with it. These are all valuable skills for a writer to develop.

See you in comments (hit Reply to join the conversation). And come back tomorrow for another Story Idea Each Day For A Month.