Alice’s Idea Giveaway Sunday, vol. 8

Hey peeps! This is Alice. Can I have a round of applause for another bloody Sunday, with its bloody pile of ideas, free for all? That’s the spirit!

If you haven’t been here before, the deal is simple. These are my writing ideas. Take them. Everything is free.

You know, in my previous giveaways I’ve presented my ideas in a highly structured form – in units that are well on their way to being stories. And that’s as I like it. Ideas aren’t usually worth jack by themselves. I’m only calling them worthy once they collide with other ideas and form those delightful train wrecks called stories. Before that, ideas are just dust.

Sometimes, though, a spark can ignite that dust.

Now, to celebrate that conflagratory quality, I’m presenting y’all with a slapdash list of random things, flecks of thought, what-ifs, dark futures, and talking animals of all flavours. Here you go!

Alice’s Random Ideas

  • What if you had auditory hallucinations (i.e. you heard voices), and the voices are mean, and know the future?
  • What if there was an objectophiliac sword-fighter, who was in love with their sword?
  • What if cannibalism was state sanctioned?
  • A protagonist who suffers from a disease, which isn’t cured during the story, which isn’t about the disease
  • A medium who can’t see ghosts, but has a miraculously keen eye for the workings of the human heart
  • A house where the walls have ears, and mouths, and they chat, argue, and advise
  • Everybody knows berserkers, but did you know there were said to be “boarserkers” as well? Look it up, that stuff is hilarious!
  • Related to that, anybody ever write a woman berserker (as in, a professional warrior employing ritualised fury) and didn’t turn her into a beer-guzzling, bar-brawling, masculine woman? And none of that “bear mother defending her young” stuff either, we’ve seen that. I want femininity and fighting not to be mutually exclusive. (Seriously, why does this point still need to be stressed?)
  • Also, more flaming gay fighting men that can be taken seriously, please!
  • What about a perfect wishing amulet? Unlimited wishes, interpreted in the kindest and most reasonable manner possible. Take that to its logical conclusion and see how long it takes for its owner to become miserable!
  • What if tokamaks started to work and we had commercial fusion by 2050?
  • Did you know that in some shamanistic cultures, women generally did not become shamans because they were too busy with householding and child-rearing? But as they aged and left the chores behind, they could discover the latent power within themselves! I WANT A STORY ABOUT A POST-MENOPAUSAL SHAMAN INITIATE!
  • A character who takes better care of their boots than people, but this isn’t treated solely as a fault
  • Cool animal companions? Sign me up! How about a badass ranger accompanied by a talking cow? Also, do not make it into a joke. Cows deserve a thoughtful, many-sided treatment.
  • How about another stock character who always seems to be out of stock? The heroic clown – a character who is ridiculous and weak, but also acts bravely and efficiently, and neither of these sides negates the other
  • Okay, plasma guns, amirite? Anybody ever played a videogame with a plasma gun and thought, “jeez, what a limp-wristed effect”? Starting with Doom’s plasma gun: it’s a stream of weak-looking blue blobs. HOW CAN EVERYBODY GET THIS SO WRONG? Kids, plasma is ten times hotter than lava. Plasma is nature deciding, “Imma take this stuff that insulates electricity and heat it up until it doesn’t!” Plasma is God frying up giants with a snap of His fingers. Please, somebody write a plasma weapon I can actually believe.

 

Whoops, getting a bit carried away here! Anyway, let’s sweep up this dust and lay low till next Sunday, okay? In the meantime, why don’t you give me a sample of your best ideas? I’m greedy and want them all!

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Alice’s Idea Giveaway Sunday, vol. 7

Greetings, denizens of 2019! I am Alice, and I come in peace. As a token of my peaceful intentions, I gift you all with some of my best writing ideas!

So what’s the deal? Simple and straightforward. Below are my ideas. Take them, piecemeal or whole, modify them, mutate them. Everything is free! Also, I always encourage you to share your own ideas in the comments. Like love, ideas do not diminish when you share them – they multiply!

What do we got, then? Let us see.

Asmela of the Night Wind

I had an idea about the invisible assassin of the gods, Asmela. Her masters, the greedy Gods of Nar, have granted her with two magical powers: she is invisible, and she can fly.

Now, how does flight work, you ever thought about that? I had a few ideas. First, though Asmela doesn’t have to flap her (non-existent) wings, her flight does consume energy – and the gods being greedy, they don’t want to supply her from their own stores. So, if Asmela wants to fly, she’s gotta eat. Also, if she flies fast, high, or for long distances, she’s liable to get tired, just as if you were sprinting, climbing, or running a marathon.

Second, since Asmela doesn’t own any invisible clothes, she has to fly naked if she wants to stay invisible, too. Now, though the Valley of Nar is fairly hot, it can get cold up there in the skies with the wind blowing, especially if you’re naked. Ergo, if Asmela wants to fly high and not freeze, she’s got to wear furs and forgo the invisibility part.

Also, since flight must consume power, it would make sense if it would consume more power the heavier you are. Like, carrying 25 kilo on a hike is a lot tougher than carrying 5 kilo. So, Asmela must avoid carrying heavy loads and should maintain a reasonable body weight, which may not be an easy task since she also poses as the feast-loving, all-wealthy queen of the Nar Valley!

Gosh, so much to think about.

The Moonlight Monastery

I’m currently reading Anna Larsdotter’s Kvinnor i strid. More fascinating than a slow fuck! Y’all know I’m weird, and have had a soft spot for Thirty Years’ War since my twenties?

What I didn’t realise before is this: 1) the armies of that time had huge numbers of women and children tailing after them, doing all the jobs, making armies more like mobile towns than anything else, and 2) pillaging was on everyone’s minds – including womens’ – but women were also desirable booty, and 3) uniforms (didn’t exist) and allegiances (changed on the fly) were far less defined than, say, two hundred years later.

Do you guys understand what a treasure trove of stories and ideas 17th-century warfare is? I’m in love, I’m in love!

Actions in the Thirty Years’ War weren’t often “fighting” actions as such. What I mean is, you didn’t just ride out against the enemy, intending to fight them on the battlefield. A large part of actions were devoted to food! Food was super important. Like, riding out to find food. Or to steal and destroy the enemy’s food. Also, they didn’t have supply chains back then. You ate what the land had, then and there. Which means the peasants really had shitty lots. (Most everybody else too, of course. War ain’t roses and chocolates today, far less then.)

So, what I’d like historical and fantasy writers to remember is food. Food is what it’s all about. In The Moonlight Monastery (working title), I had the idea that Aguilliere’s band of soldiers have been sent to destroy the local crops to deny the Spaniards their meals. Also, they’ve taken what they can carry with them, to bring rations back to their forces.

Alas, in crossing a river while fleeing pursuing Spaniards, Aguilliere’s band loses much of their acquired booty: chickens, grain, bread, fruit, and two lovely Italian girls. The resulting shortage of food makes them desperate, and forms the crucial catalyst of the story. They have to take shelter in the suspicious monastery because everybody’s starving. (And also because the Spaniards are on their heels.)

Now, the monastery is ruled by vampire nuns, and they offer the cuirassiers the repast of their dreams. Aguilliere tries to warn her soldiers not to eat, but the Savoyards are famished – and thus they fall under the spell of the vampires, who have power over those who accept their lodging and partake of their hospitality (i.e. their food).

Lest you think the vampire nuns are all evil – they’re not – you have to look at the war from their point of view. They eat people, after all, so what they do is just the same as a hunter setting traps for hares.

My god, war’s such fun! I mean, as a source of ideas. Not otherwise.

 

That’s it for today, peeps! What are some of your best ideas? Give them to me!

Alice’s Idea Giveaway Sunday, vol. 5

Hello, peeps! Alice’s box is the gift that keeps on giving! Christmas is at hand, and creepy white-bearded lechers squeeze through holes left and right – what better time than this to take a peek in Alice’s mind and pillage it of its best ideas?

I’m sharing my best ideas once again in this weekly giveaway. See something you like? A plot progression, a character quirk, a world feature? Take what you fancy! It’s all free, names included!

What do we got today? Let’s see!

The Moonlight Monastery

I had an idea about a story set in 1636 during the Franco-Spanish War. A cavalry commander called Aguilliere (Lady Lydia Clairmont in disguise) leads a band of Savoyard cuirassiers who are fleeing Spanish troops. To the Savoyards’ good luck, mist springs up, and they think they can lose their pursuers. However, from the mist appears a strange, walled monastery. Despite Aguilliere’s sense of foreboding, they take shelter in the monastery, for the cuirassiers are deathly tired, and their horses ridden hard enough to make their hearts burst.

The monastery is of course inhabited by demonic vampire nuns, who have used their dark arts to lure humans into their lair. A bloody feast will soon be prepared!

The twist is, Aguilliere is Lady Lydia in disguise, and she is part of a long line of vampire slayers – a scion of the Clairmont family. However, in another twist, she cannot defeat vampires on her own, as they are creatures physically superior to humans. Lydia needs the fabled Sword of Night, but she left it at home when she ran away to join the army.

Then, in a third twist, Lydia falls in love with the youngest nun in the monastery, the blasphemous vampire Arienne.

Now, Lydia is caught in a web of conflicted desires, as she must save her faithful cuirassiers, do her duty as a vampire slayer, and claim the ostracised Arienne for her own.

History is tons of fun, peeps! Did you know the French soldiers were once obligated to have a nom de guerre? And did you know that a surprising number of women fought in various wars, disguised as men, and many had very long careers? Or that the cuirassiers of Savoy wore grotesque helmets nicknamed “Death’s Head”?

Asmela of the Night Wind

Asmela is the terrifying, invisible assassin of the Gods of Nar. They employ her to keep in check their rebellious stonemasons, the giants of the Dhaal Underworld. The gods have robbed Asmela’s memories and put in their place false ones, making Asmela believe that she is the queen of the luxuriantly fetid Nar Valley. In reality, Asmela was once a rebel chieftain who fought alongside the Dhaal giants to defeat the Gods of Nar. (A play which, obviously, failed!)

Asmela’s sister, Gamala, was once a powerful sorcerer, but she was slain in the war. However, Gamala’s ghost struggles to return from the lands of death, so that she may restore Asmela’s true memories. And, since the Dhaal Underworld lies closest to the lands of death, Gamala’s ghost comes there first, and begs aid from the Dhaal giants.

However, since Gamala is dead, she can’t easily distinguish the dead from the living, and ends up talking to the spirit of a departed Dhaal stonesmith, Kora Xantre. Xantre then speaks to one of her descendants through dreams. This descendant ends up being Asmela’s target.

Asmela kills her target, of course, but with her dying breath, the Dhaal giant tells Asmela to speak with Kora Xantre. This leads Asmela on the path to recovering her memory, and realising that the Gods of Nar have led her like a puppet on the string.

 

That’s it for this Sunday, fellow writers! What are some of your best ideas? Give them to me!

Alice’s Idea Giveaway Sunday, vol. 4

Hello all! This is Alice. Welcome to another Sunday yard sale, where the primary goods are ideas, and prices don’t exist!

As always, Alice is free and easy, and this extends to her ideas. See something you like? Take it! Or be inspired by it! And if you’re so inclined, share your own ideas in the comments!

So, what’s on the table today? Let’s see!

Mother Lord

You know Judge Dredd, from Dredd (2012)? Or T-800 from Terminator 2? Ever since I was knee-high, I’ve been secretly in love with this type of badass character, an unstoppable combat machine, a critter that’ll just keep comin’ on. But at the same time, the overbearing machismo of these types keeps putting me off, as if they were a plate of tongue-wetting cheesecake that stinks of yesterday’s turds!

Now I had my own idea about such a Dredd-esque character that I want to scrub free of stink. As of now, she is called Lord Eva, one of the last automaton “lords” who worked as the bodyguards and landfall soldiers of the ancient regime – a fighting robot engineered to take ungodly amounts of punishment and stay functional.

(I’m also fond of the word “lord”, and wanted to somehow apply its lovely lordly connotations to a female-type character. Unable to find a synonym suitable for a woman, I’m just re-purposing the word itself. Suck it, rules!)

Now, Lord Eva is the hero of the story, but the protagonist is as-yet unnamed girl, and they team up, just like Dredd and Anderson, or Big Guy and Rusty, or Daisaku Kusama and Giant Robo! The twist is that the girl thinks Lord Eva is somehow her deceased mother come to life again, and the whole story is spent trying to find “emotions” inside Lord Eva. And because this is real life, there are none. You may think that’s tragic, but I wanna make it awesome.

I also like robots, FYI.

The Knight of the Horned Goddess

How about a few words about procreation, y’all? This story takes place on Sarpathia, which is sort of like ancient Greece, except loads bigger and with unicorns! So, I had the idea that in Sarpathia, people don’t breed by having sperm shoot into their wombs, but instead, perplexingly, by eating the fruit of the “gamete tree”! (A relic of the bygone times of meddlesome Earthlings.)

So how does that work? I figured that the gamete tree bears fruit only once a year. When it ripens, the priestesses of Areina Plaige gather the fruit and press it into juice. Then all those desiring to be impregnated line up, drink the juice, and hope for the best!

However, because life usually sucks in some way or another, the rich and powerful get to drink first, and maybe even eat a bit of the unpressed fruit. Then come all the rest, in decreasing order of wealth and favour, until the very poorest, who get to lick the bottom of the bowl in the faint hope of having a baby.

…and, unlike in our world, there’s totally no sex. In fact, to suggest that “making babies” is sexual is likely to get you stoned for being a deviant freak!

 

That’s it for today, fellow kids! What are some of your best ideas? Give them to me!

Alice’s Idea Giveaway Sunday, vol. 3

Hello! This is Alice! Sunday rolls over us like a thunderhead, so come huddle under my blanket, where the potluck of shared ideas simmers!

The deal today is the same as last Sunday: Alice will give away all her best ideas, for absolutely no charge, to use or abuse, to mutate, substitute, or modulate! Take whatever you want, be inspired, or share your own ideas in the comments!

Without further ado, let’s dump today’s haul on the deck:

The Knight of the Horned Goddess

For the longest time, I couldn’t figure out why Boar was a knight in addition to a travelling whore. I just wanted her to be! But, then I had an idea: Boar is a devotee of the love goddess, Areina Plaige, and she fulfils this role as a temple protector – an armed priestess, so to speak! Also, because Areina Plaige’s temples hold the sacred trees of procreation, Boar is also a knight of the trees.

Also, I had the idea that Boar carries in her belongings a lacquered wooden dildo. Since she associates a lot with soldiers, she jokingly calls it her “practice sword” with which to fight “little combats”. And of course, in these combats there is no risk of real death – only la petite mort.

(Yes, this one is gonna be chock-full of cockey sword talk.)

The Maiden of Ulalla and Urxu

Dimna was trained in magic at Castle Yrkraaq. As hardly more than a child, she was sent off on a heroic mission. Now, in her adulthood, she tries to find her way back to Yrkraaq, which is both her childhood home and the dwelling place of her teachers, the toucan knights Caärdry and Myndafarr.

However, I had the idea that for some strange reason, Dimna cannot find the way back to Yrkraaq any more. Also, her magical training remains incomplete. This is one of the central tragedies in Dimna’s life: she is estranged both from her lovely home, the frost-touched Yrkraaq, and the safety of her teachers, who are pan-wise in magic. (Or so she imagines.)

This leads her to certain risky behaviours. Though she is normally careful when travelling the dangerous realms of Urxu and Ulalla, if she catches rumours of her childhood teachers, she is prone to chucking reason out of the window and rushing into danger headlong.

Asmela of the Night Wind

You know how in various mythologies there are generations of gods, with the younger surpassing the older? The Olympians usurped the Titans, the Danaans drove out the Fir Bolg, and so on. Now, I wanted to use this idea, too.

In Asmela’s story, the eldest god is Sul, the Creatress, who ruled when the world was still steaming fresh off the anvil. Sul in turn gave birth to seven angels of the high heaven, who acted as her stewards during the long dark eras of divine illness. Following Sul’s death, the modern gods arrive, and Sul’s children, the seven angels, withdraw to their fortresses beyond the edge of the sky.

Each successive generation is, alas, weaker and pettier than its predecessor. Thus, the modern gods are lazy, gluttonous, small-minded, and vengeful – yet they are endowed with sparks of the same power once wielded by the Creatress. This is an evil combination, and the modern gods enslave entire populations with their power, leading to the central conflict in Asmela’s life: she gradually wakes up to find herself an unwitting assassin to supercilious divinities who are not above robbing her entire memory and supplanting it with gross fairy-tales.

 

That’s it for today, my pretty butterflies! What are some of your best ideas? Give them to me!

Alice’s Idea Giveaway Sunday, vol. 2

Good morning, all! This is Alice. Another bloody Sunday, eh? But, to tide you over this ghastly day, Alice wants to share her best ideas with you!

The deal is the same as before: take, borrow, steal, alter, do variations, be inspired! Everything is free, names included! Alice’s every idea is running rampant on the range, and it’s all gratis!

At the same time, I wanna encourage you all to write down your own ideas in the comments. There’s strange magic to it. During the very act of writing an idea down, you suddenly have more ideas. Ideas generate ideas, like magnetic filings attracting each other.

Do it! And be amazed: this works even if you write down an idea you’ve written down before. It can be repeated endlessly, because ideas are protean, changing like the sea.

Here are mine. Go ahead, grab what you like!

The Marchise and the Knight of Madness

The sadistic Marchise is the villain of this story, but my idea was to explore her motives a bit beyond the “evil vampire torments innocent victims”. Just as the hero of the story, Orabelle, belongs to the ancient vampire-hunting Clairmont family, so does the Marchise belong to a lineage of vampiric dwellers of the night.

From the Marchise’s point of view, humans breed uncontrollably across her territory, and she feels compelled to protect herself against them – to the Marchise, humans are paradoxically both food and dangerous predators who threaten her existence. And the most terrifying among these predators are the mysterious Clairmonts, who are rumoured to possess powers that even vampires are unable to resist!

Thus, the Marchise terrorises humans to keep them from invading her nest. And nothing gives her more pleasure than enslaving Orabelle, because doing so convinces the Marchise that she is above even this most deadly of hunters. However, because of her twisted and perverse nature, the Marchise does not outright kill Orabelle, but keeps her on a leash to torment her. And this leads to the Marchise’s downfall…

The Maiden of Ulalla and Urxu

Dimna, the titular maiden, was trained in magic in Castle Yrkraaq, but that training remains incomplete. Now, as she travels the world, she fears she will die, and that her magic will disappear. To combat this, she takes on a student to whom she will pass her knowledge.

I had the idea that this story would be a different take on the fantasy trope of the wizard mentor. Dimna is the mentor, but her knowledge is imperfect, so she is by no means the mysterious, all-wise and all-patient mentor encountered in fantasy. Instead, she grapples with her own problems and estranges her student, who goes on to learn magic by themselves.

In the end, this student develops magic unknown to Dimna, and the roles are reversed: Dimna comes to study under her ex-student. In a way, Dimna’s own training is completed as she learns from the one she herself taught.

Professor Goodnight and the Wright Sisters

I had an idea about the villainous Professor Goodnight, who has awakened ten ancient robot masters to enslave the world. They sleep beneath Karakoram and arise to trample the feeble cities of humanity! Fighting against these invincible opponents are Professor Goodnight’s former students, Hilda and Norma Wright, and their little sister Emma.

This is set on alternate Earth in 1930s. The Wrights frantically develop crazy superweapons to battle the robot masters, and their militant little sister leads squadrons of experimental fighter planes at the front lines. They are joined by the gemstone warriors of Mars, and the thousand-year-old Norman knight, Troismort, awakened from eternal slumber!

 

That’s it for today, fellow writers! What are some of your best ideas? Give them to me!

 

 

Alice’s Idea Giveaway Sunday

Hello all, what’s up? This is Alice. The world is full of shit, but she loves it anyway! And, as a way of blowing kisses at y’all, she wants to share some of her best writing ideas!

Yes, I spoke about this in a previous post. The deal is, this Sunday I will again give you all my ideas freely. Take whatever catches your fancy! Everything is free to use wherever you please, names and all!

(The caveat is, of course, that at the same time, I’m not going to stop using these ideas. So think of it as kind of a CC license.)

The Knight of the Horned Goddess

I had the idea that people in Sarpathia (a country on a faraway star) breed in a curious fashion: they swallow seeds from certain sacred trees that produce them annually, and each seed has a chance of making you pregnant (provided you’re fertile). The trees are a leftover from the times of meddlesome Earthlings.

This idea has me stumped at another front, however! I had the idea that Boar, the eponymous knight, earns a living as a whore… but would this be feasible, if sex and reproduction are thus disconnected in Sarpathia? I mean, sex still carries the potential for disease, but you couldn’t get accidentally pregnant by humping in the bushes. So, would this mean that whores are out of work? What do you guys think?

The Maiden of Ulalla and Urxu

I had the idea that Dimna could travel to two alternate dimensions, Ulalla and Urxu, where the flow of time is different relative to the mundane world. Dimna was trained in magic at Yrkraaq. Now I had the idea that Dimna’s magic was based on two principles: First, she is able to travel to other worlds, like the deadly Urxu. Second, she is trained in multiple “magical” languages, which allow her communication with, for example, Urxuans. This in turns allows her to make deals with the denizens of otherworlds, and procure their aid, thus creating phenomena in the mundane world that are interpreted as magic by ignorant laypersons!

Also, Dimna could feasibly be conversant in the language of certain birds, or rodents, or snakes. However, she is quick to point out that these languages are of limited use, because birds, rodents, and snakes think much differently from humans, and have little concern for human affairs! As in, she couldn’t make birds carry messages easily, because most birds can’t tell humans apart.

The Marchise and the Knight of Madness

I wanted to delve more into the history of the vampire-hunting Clairmont family. I had the idea about writing a story about Orabelle Clairmont, a Carolingian knight who was bound in the service of a frightful demon called the Marchise, who terrorises Boulogne. Orabelle’s powerful blood prevents her from being magically controlled by the Marchise, so she has captured Orabelle’s sister Clarefil, and keeps her hostage to ensure Orabelle’s cooperation.

(Actually, the Marchise just takes perverse pleasure in enslaving a mighty Clairmont knight, but we’ll go into that later!)

Orabelle is almost completely powerless against the terrible Marchise. However! Clarefil, having trace magical abilities herself, is able to communicate with her sister in dreams. She guides Orabelle in her struggle against the Marchise. Near the finale, Orabelle goes mad (thus the title) and rushes to rescue her sister, only to find the Marchise has slaughtered poor Clarefil!

Orabelle is plunged into debilitating despair, and the Marchise finally moves to dispose of her! But – at the last moment – Orabelle hears Clarefil’s voice in her mind, softly whispering a lullaby of their homeland. Orabelle’s strength is restored, and, using the sword Sarsiel, whose destiny is to battle demons, she destroys the Marchise!

Yes, it’s cheesy. But the flavour of the cheese is just right for me. (Never dis cheese. It’s a great source of protein life-affirming joy!)

 

Anyway, that’s it for today, dear embattled friends! What are some of your best ideas? Give them to me!