The Worst Story Ideas Ever

Someone asked me recently why I haven't tried writing a book, and I told her I simply haven't had the right idea yet. A book is a big thing, with many pages, most of which have words on them. The best books are usually about one idea, sustained over those many pages. Given that at this exact moment I am watching baseball, texting, watching an episode of South Park and writing, let's just say that my attention span is not exactly suited towards the 500 page novel.

Of course, that doesn't mean I've never tried. To the contrary, I have had a few different stretches in my life where I've made concerted efforts at long form writing: a play here, a short story there, a movie script or piece of fiction. Of course, the majority of my ideas are just that: ideas, jotted down in notebooks or Word files or Blackberry notes, all of them born in moments of creativity and all of them forgotten within moments.

Why? Well, I come up with good ideas at the absolute worst moments. The shower is my number one place, where surging water and wet hands makes recording the ideas impossible. "I'll just remember it for when I get out," I'll think, and somewhere between toweling off and blow drying my hair the idea is lost forever. (Yeah, I blow dry my hair. Deal with it.)

Number two on that list? While I'm asleep. I have strange, detailed dreams almost every night, and i often jolt awake at 5 or 6 AM with what seems like the perfect story idea. Just last week, I rolled over in the middle of the night and began formulating an absolutely fantastic concept for a political thriller. Or a sports movie? Or some kind of romantic comedy? Either way, I told myself over and over again I would not forget the idea and by the time I woke up the only thing I could remember is telling myself over and over again that I would not forget the idea.

The other place I always think of ideas is the subway, which certainly lends itself to writing ideas down but I can tell you from experience that the ideas almost always concern the subway. Here's a great one, found in my Blackberry under a file called Story Ideas: "guy is pooping in grand central, witnesses murder, only thing he sees are shoes."

Next stop: Pulitzer Prize.

That idea may be astoundingly bad, but it is certainly not the only one. Here are some of my greatest hits, revealed for the first time:

A zombie movie where the big twist is that all the zombies are wearing makeup and doing performance art. This one is based on a dream, and is simply not a good idea. I remember that in the dream I was very pissed off as my zombie friends began removing their makeup and congratulating each other on a great show, and actually spent much of the next day mad at certain people without telling them.

Verbatim, from my notes: "black poet enforcer for drug gang, rides on subway writing in notebook. Crossed out poetry – city lights, water bottle on gun as silencer."

--This stemmed from an actual man I saw on the subway, and I invented a whole backstory for him while walking up Lexington Avenue at 3 in the morning. Clearly based on "Precious," which is based on the novel Push by Sapphire. Apparently I thought that using a Poland Spring bottle as a silencer on a pistol was enough to carry this movie to box office gold.

"group of guys together, one of them gets bitten by a snake. He is a native American, they have to take him back to his burial ground for some great treasure as reward. He keeps talking about a key. They realize he is the key once they get him back to the camp. Elders say the reward is the land, bunch of worthless land but actually has oil."

--This is just a terrible idea. I thought of this in the shower at school, after watching True Grit and 3:10 to Yuma, and playing too much Red Dead Redemption. In this idea, I assume all Native Americans must return to their burial ground in the same way elephants go to an elephant graveyard. This is not, to my understanding, true.

"Man was forced to hide something, now anytime he tries to remember hes in intense pain and destroys things around him. Some kind of brain implant, set in the future. TV reports are always on about missing president’s daughter, but it’s a red herring."

--Some kind of Memento homage? Funny, I've never actually seen Memento. I'm glad I thought of the idea of the president's daughter - if I ever do write this, sorry for the spoiler alert.

There are many other, but some of them I still want to write. If these are my rejected ideas, just imagine how good my OTHER ideas must be!

By the way, if you see any of these at your local movie theater in a year, I am suing the crap out of everyone.

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