I get a lot of my story ideas from dreams. Sometimes it’s a song that sparks something. Ideas can be lurking in the shower, a chance encounter, news articles or headlines, or in another work (book, movie, etc.) When you don’t have a place for the ideas that come to you what do you do with them? NaNoWriMo’s Adoption Society is one place to share them. Maybe they’ll even find a good home. Check out the various threads on the forum for ideas ranging from plot ideas, to new characters, to entire worlds, or even snappy one-off lines (my Villain Catch Phrases came from NaNo, for example).
But this post is going to be some ideas I’ve had over the years that, for one reason or another, just never went anywhere. Feel free to adopt, tweak, or use as a springboard for your own ideas. No citation needed here, though if it ends up published let me know. I’d love to read what you came up with!
Some are starting plots, some are just twists on old themes, some are characters that need a home.
- A collection of tribes are slowly dying out as the rest of the world advances in technology while they cling to their traditions. A prophecy says that the last survivor of one of the tribes is destined to either save all tribes, or scatter them to the corners of the world.
- Werewolves aren’t affected by silver (the metal of the moon), but by gold (the metal of the sun). It’s been a long-kept secret to keep human hunters from having an extra advantage against them.
- Magic is driven by pure desire. It takes a very broken, twisted soul to cause any actual harm to another person -yet that doesn’t stop people from blaming the local witch(es) whenever something goes wrong.
- In a polytheistic world there are two types of divinely chosen individuals. There are those whom the gods speak through, and those who wield the power of the gods to defend the deity’s interests.
- A young woman is victim of a violent crime that factures her psyche. The resulting personalities lead her on a strange path towards revenge…or redemption…
- An old “haunted” house is actually the gateway to numerous other worlds.
- Fairy godmothers are slowly dying out as the stories they used to guide are being forgotten as anything more than children’s stories.
- A young boy develops telekinetic abilities but tries to supress them to avoid being picked on even more.
- A naïve young sorcerer(ess) spends their time trying to break the curse on someone, only to discover that they were cursed by the sorcerer(ess)’s master.
- Two “black sheep” cousins are sent on a mission by the matriarch of their family simply because it’ll tweak the nose of the rest of the family. The cousins must deal with some very angry and/or bitter relatives seeking to complete the mission before they do. With possibly some very negative reasons for wanting to do so.
- An ancient pantheon as it is living in secret in the modern world.
- Dragons are thought to be mythical beasts, but are actually masquerading as a group of secluded monks in a mountain range. The “monks” are known for their superior magic-crafting skills, as well as their prophetic abilities.
- A set of twins, one a mage and one a warrior, are both possible heirs to the family land/kingdom. The mage, wanting the power and wealth, poisons the warrior. The father disowns the mage and names the warrior the heir. Before the announcement is publically made, the mage casts a spell to wipe the father’s memory. He is then dumped somewhere. Once recovered the warrior only knows that the father is missing and goes to search for him. The mage wipes the warrior’s memory as well and leaves the warrior for dead somewhere. The warrior, with no memory, survives and only remembers that s/he was searching for something important.
- A journalistic account of a group of colonists on a planet that has been failed to be colonized several times already. The natives are vicious… but they aren’t actually native to the planet. They are (mutated?) descendants of the very first colonization attempt.
- Magic is hereditary, which causes some concern when somebody from a small village manifests great magical potential -despite no one in that family ever showing any sign of it before.
- An orphaned child embarks on a quest to learn who they are. But the answers they find only raise more questions as it becomes obvious that the gods had a direct hand in the child’s life from birth onwards.
- A kingdom is bound and determined to stick with Tradition. When a new king and queen is needed, the city council attempts to figure out a way to force their chosen individuals into the old stories and traditions. Yet Tradition seems to have a mind of its own sometimes.
- Answering a ‘Help Wanted’ ad, somebody discovers that they’ve just accepted the job of Death…and all the powers that go along with it.
- A race of people are prophesized to destroy the world as it is known so a king attempts to kill them all. Few escape. One is just a baby that is rescued by a compassionate farming family that disagree with the king’s murdering the people -even with the prophecy. They raise the baby as their own until another prophecy prompts the king to begin a search for any survivors. The now teenaged orphan must flee. Are they the one to bring about the prophecy? Are they only trying to find where they belong, find the scattered remnants of their people?
- A truce between two powerful kingdoms is sealed with a marriage and a child. When the couple and child goes missing the two kingdoms begin a long, gruelling war with each other. Two decades later, the child is told its true heritage and sent away before assassins intent on keeping the war alive find them.
- What happens after “happily ever after” in the traditional tales? Can Snow White live with herself after making her step mother dance to death in red-hot iron shoes? Can Cinderella accept that her step sisters where put inside nail studded barrels and rolled down a cliff? If so…what kind of person and life must they lead?
- A young couple is separated when the husband is drafted for a civil war. The wife is given a magical token that will always tell her whether he is alive and well or not. One day the token goes black (signs that the husband died), but then flickers back to life. Concerned, the wife sets off for the front line to find her husband, or whatever remains of him…
- Supernatural beings/creatures find acceptance in the modern world by becoming superheroes (and super-villains)
- A paladin/heroic champion of a nature deity -because sometimes even peaceful gods need a kick-ass warrior.
- A brothel owner who uses her business to relay sensitive information. Which side is she really working for though? Or does she have another, secret, motivation?
- All oaths are magically binding. If you swear or promise something you are compelled to follow through. (What happens when somebody figures out how to negate the compulsion?)
Someday I may come back and use some of these ideas, but I think they’re pretty generic that you and I will come up with entirely different stories based on them. 🙂 Enjoy!