Friday, October 18, 2013

Free Story Idea Friday


Sorting through some old papers yesterday, I came across some old correspondence in which a friend asked me why I never sent her any stories.  So, on the spot, I made one up for her.  Which she didn't use, of course, because she wasn't the sort of writer who can work from other people's ideas.   De scribblibus non est disputandum and all that.

But it's not a bad idea, and since I don't plan on using it myself, I thought I'd throw it out there for whoever wants it.  Take it and run! 

The story is called . . .


The protagonist of "Hobbits" is a Homo floresiensis.   She, and others like her, belong to what I call a lazarus taxon -- a resurrected species like the aurochs in our time or the mastodon in the near future of the story.  (Incidentally, I don't know if there's an official scientific term for resurrected species.  You'll have to do the research to find out.)   

Her name is, of course, Rosie.

Rosie is young and still sorting through the problems of being dumped into a racist (and sizist, and speciesist, and taxonist, etc.) world, feeling tremendous resentment toward the human race for having created her.  She doesn't want a hobbit boyfriend (even if they didn't all want tall girls) because they'd look cute together.  She doesn't want a sapiens boyfriend because he'd make her look and feel small.  The question that she's ultimately grappling with is whether the hobbits are part of "us," part of the greater society, or a totally different species living in implicit enmity with the human race.

These issues are chiefly played out in her relationship with her mother.  Conflicted feelings there.  When she was young, her mother doted on her, so her early memories are good.  Now she thinks she was dorked over royally just so Mom could have something cute to play with.  It doesn't help that, as she's gotten more surly and anti-social her mother is finding her a lot less engaging than she used to be.

Lots and lots of issues there.  But chiefly mother-daughter stuff, which is one of the great themes of our age, I think.

It needs a third party to kick the whole thing into fiction.  A lawyer who wants her to join in a class-action lawsuit?  A crackpot notion to create a separatist island homeland for hobbits?  A gay hobbit friend who's thinking of taking an offer to make fetish porn?  I'd recommend incorporating all three, with the first and last in the foreground and the middle just something they talk about scornfully.
Oh, and Rosie should have a sapiens female friend, mostly sympathetic, who at a key emotional moment lets her know that you don't have to be a hobbit to have problems with your mother.

That's all.  You're going to have to do some research into the science of genetic manipulation, of course.  But there's no reason why you can't start writing the story right now.

Have fun.


Eileen Gunn said...

Cool story idea, Michael! Of course, the only way to use your "free" plot would be to turn it all inside out, idea by idea, but I expect that pretty much any reader of this blog is completely capable of such savagery and ingratitude. I look forward to seeing the insane perversions of logical plotting that result.

Michael Swanwick said...

Eileen, I keep trying to explain this to you: Not everybody writes the way you do. In fact, NOBODY writes the way you do. Save, of course, for you.

And even then . . .

Eileen Gunn said...

I like to believe that every writer has her fair share of savagery and ingratitude....

Michael Swanwick said...

Point taken. Savagery and ingratitude will beat talent and good manners any day.