So I Have This Idea . . .

I’m trying to figure out something I can do to put some extra fun in our interactions since we’re all under siege. I mean, that wombat instagram was great, but there’s a limit to what a wombat can do. So I had this vague idea–very vague–about five minutes ago and without thinking it through, I’m going to put it up here so we can brainstorm it because it has to be a community thing or it won’t work. Actually since I haven’t thought it through, it’s probably doomed, I get a dozen brilliant ideas a day that turn to be trash by the time the sun goes down, but I figure if this is an Argh community project, maybe we can do something interesting with it. So . . .

My first thought was to start putting up a short story or a chapter a week. I hate the chapter idea because I don’t like waiting for things, although if it was a new book I was writing, then the chapter thing would make sense because I wouldn’t know what was coming next, either, so I wouldn’t be withholding things, we’d be discovering them together. That could be fun. Except then you all wouldn’t be playing. (The other alternative was short stories, but I suck at short stories.)

Except all the books I have started to write I already know about, so you couldn’t play in those. So this would have to be a new book. Something that I have no idea what it’s really about. And I could put up a scene (not a chapter, have a heart), and then we could brainstorm where it goes next. And then I’d write that scene and we’d take that apart. A scene a week seems slow, but it might take a week to hash it out. And then there’s the fact that I slow down as I move through a book because there are more things to think about. And I go back and rewrite. And that would have to happen here, too.

All of which means I have no idea how this would work. At all. It may be an awful idea. It may crash and burn. But it could be fun. I think the only rule is that it can’t be about the virus or politics, but then again, a book with the virus in it could be a really cathartic thing to write for all of us. The trapped-in-an-elevator book, only trapped-everywhere.

And then I’d have to corral you all–Argh people have no boundaries that I’m aware of–and we’d have to talk about writing stuff, first drafts, structure, all of that, but you seem to be pretty patient with that.

So I’m throwing this idea over to you all. Anybody want to try this with the full knowledge that it could be a disaster? And what is “this”? Should we brainstorm a heroine and a love interest and an antagonist and start from scratch? Do you want to start with Surprise Lily since I have NO idea where that one was going (except she works in a diner and the hero is named Erik, but that can always change, remember Mort?). Or . . . what?

As I said, this occurred to me about ten minutes ago (now, it was five when I started typing), so I have not worked through any of this. Except I think it should be a romance and I think it should have a happy ending, should we ever reach an ending. Also the dog will not die.

Whaddaya think?

68 thoughts on “So I Have This Idea . . .

  1. Oh yeah. PLEASE do this! Might have to set down two or three things first, like rules of the world/environment this happens in. But it would be SO fun to read!

  2. I love it.

    I vote starting with Surprise Lilly.

    Re-post with what you had.

    We can all throw up suggestions about what we think would happen next.

    You can then pick whichever sparks your interest and write a bit more. I don’t think it needs to be a chapter or a scene or any specified length. Just write what you think of next, throw it back to us for brainstorming, choose what sparks your interest . . . . and so on.

    I’ve done that before and the results are never NYT booklist worthy, but they are always very entertaining.

    Plus, it would be nice to have something to focus on other than current events.

    That’s my two-cents.

  3. Oh, yes, please! Surprise Lily would be a fun start. Each week another lifetime…

  4. Oh totally go with Lily! I was completely intrigued by the bit you already started!

  5. I love it. My vote is no pandemic in the story. Surprise Lily is good. But something else would be good too.

  6. I like the idea, whether Lily or something brand new. Even if it crashes and burns, it should be a fun ride! (Of course, “no horsing around on the airplane.”)

    1. I have written maybe two dozen short stories in my life and they all took years off my life. I like to wallow, not spring (g).

        1. You weren’t a jerk at all. Sorry if my answer implied that.

          “Hot Toy” is a novella. COMPLETELY different animal from a short story. Novellas I can write.

        1. Sure, have a French bulldog. If you mean for the story, I tend to lean toward mutts, as odd as possible, but we can certainly through French bulldog into the mix.

          1. Please throw French bulldog into the mix. To my eyes, they look exactly like Stitch, minus the extra arms.

          2. My dogs won’t let me have a real cat. I would love to have a cat. Of course I’m allergic to cats, but then I’m allergic to dogs, too.

  7. Love the idea of more Lily! Crashing and burning is not a problem because we will all have so much fun during the process, if history is anything to go by. And we would get to laugh at “not going to write this” which is always satisfying……..

  8. That sounds like amazing fun, and I will attempt to illustrate it. Because your work is SO visual, and should be great fun. I might have to learn some new medium, because my drawing is less than stellar, but that would also be part of the process, yes?

      1. Maybe some of our brainstorming could be images or fragments that you could use or not?? (I’m not thinking it through, either.)

  9. Yes, please. How about a dog or a friend that has the spirit of Loki trying to save her. A touch of Wild Ride. Or a one eyed alligator at a zoo. Or a friend that’s a coroner named Mort. Or she needs a lawyer or a leptotologist. I have plans big plans. Now off to paint a night sky on my ceiling with easy YouTube tutorials. I should take my ADD meds before I climb ladders. Oh and Nina’s mother, isn’t she out and about demon hunting?

  10. Hey, give it a shot. What else do we have to do?

    You could always go “Floating Admiral” and have separate people write each chapter, just for shits n’ giggles.

  11. Oh, yes! It would be so fun. I also vote for Surprise Lily but I’m good with anything.

    As far as ground rules, how about no pressure and no expectations. We do it as long as it’s fun and stop when it’s not fun anymore. We take a break when we need to (especially you). If it gets finished, great, but if it never gets finished, that’s fine, too. It gave us something to have fun with during the bad times.

  12. Um, yeah. Also, we are Argh people, we are self isolating, we can corral ourselves for a new story.

  13. A couple of months ago one of the most important people in my life passed away. I have not been able to read or craft since, as tiredness has become a companion. But I have been able to read your blog which has really helped.

    I think this would be a good distraction from the covid-19 news.

    I don’t want you putting yourself under pressure either. If there are some weeks you don’t want to write the scene, you have to tell us.

    I already have a picture of Lilly in my head.

    History: The Annuals of Ulster tell us that in AD821 the Vikings kidnapped a large number of women during a raid (may have been nuns). Are Lilly could have been one of these women. LOL

    1. OMG. The possibilities.

      I’m so sorry that you’ve lost someone so important to your life. Glad we could help in any small way.

  14. One small suggestion (hey, I’m a lawyer and am always looking for possible down sides so as to avoid them) — perhaps aim for a novella, rather than a novel. Maybe it’s just me, but I’d have trouble sustaining this kind of process for 400 pages, as opposed to 100 pages. Having a little bit of structure (length imposes some structure) and an end in mind might keep it from being more work than fun or from having it lose momentum and just peter out in a way that’s not satisfying for anyone. 100 pages divided into 5-page scenes = 20 weeks. (Yeah, I take all the fun out of things by doing the math. But maybe it helps a little?)

    1. Or we can not worry about length. Of course that’s how Nita ended up 145,000 words and Manhunting’s first draft ended at 165,000, but I think just staying in the moment is a big help right now.

  15. Now watch, I won’t contribute anything. I’m always saying yes and then finding myself frozen. But who knows, maybe it’ll be different this time.

  16. I’m in with Lily! How many times has she died? The structure could be built around that, maybe. It would be fun to brainstorm unique ways to “kill” her off. And while not mentioning COVID-19, what if Lily and the new therapist that thinks outside the box are stuck in the office? The hero could be another therapist, as Lily’s only interactions would be with whoever is in the office (or I suppose there could be phone conversations, where your shining dialogue could stand alone).

    All just spit-balling here.

    1. I’m open to how many times she’s died. I had twelve, but that was Dr. Who inspired and lazy.

      I dated a therapist once. Never do that. I supposed she could be dating a therapist who’s the Wrong Guy, but I did that in Welcome to Temptation. The thing is, when you have a fight with a therapist who’s being such a putz you want to kill him, he often says, “What you REALLY mean by that is . . . ” and then you have to kill him, and I don’t want to do a murder mystery.

      1. LOL! I suppose he could be another client, if you go with the locked in theme. What would contrast a woman who thinks she’s lived multiple lives? Someone who has an overwhelming fear of death itself? Could be pretty tricky to make the funny, I suppose…

        1. Or there could be another client who thinks he/she is going crazy because they’re getting flashes of past lives, but they recognise Lilly.

          1. I actually have had that sort of happen. Weird relationship dynamics that just didn’t make sense until my hypnotherapist took me back to a previous life and I realized I’d been married to the jerk before. All I saw was a lot of plates flying through the air and cursing in Italian 🙂

          2. Over the years I have had a famous person come to mind here and there and then a few weeks later they will be in the news. Now if I had an event come to mind before it happened I could have sold all my imaginary stocks. Snark!

  17. So many people I know have been proposing these fun ways of dealing with all of the stress that we’re undergoing, and I’ve been signing on for all of them despite the fact that my job will continue but online, but even recognizing this logical and logistical problem is not slowing me down one whit. I’m in!

    As much as I loved Lily, I’d vote for something new. I tend to listen to people when they say No, and although you tossed it out there as a possibility today, it seemed like you’d said No many times before about Lily, so I’d say why not start with something that you might feel more Yes about?

  18. Yes please! I would love anything you wanted to write about.

    If you end up needing inspiration for a mutt, I can offer a description of my dog, Pepper Ann. She is what I call my frankendog. The shelter had her listed as a Basset Hound, but has huge paws, the coloring and ears of a Rottweiler, and way too much energy when she is excited. She has been known to fall backwards when trying to jump up onto the bed or couch. Happily she never lets this keep her down and keeps trying until she gets lift off from her rear-end and lands on the bed, immediately deciding all 40 pounds of her is a lap dog.

  19. I want to share something I’ve been a part of for a few years, although I don’t think the format would work here without changes. It is a writing blog hop. We have specific themes. Every couple months, one theme is introduced, and every member writes something on the theme. Usually flash fiction. Sometimes, poetry or non-fiction. The length has a limit of 1000 words. Then we visit each other’s blogs, read, and comment. It gives all the participants the chance to write and be read by others.
    As many of us write, I thought we could glean something useful from that idea. Maybe…

  20. Oh, yes, please. This sounds like fun. I may actually have to overcome my avoidance of social media and become an Instagrammer for this! (Or should a writer be an Instagrammar?)

    Dogs are good. So are cats. Life under house arrest, as I’m sure all other Californians will agree, is not so great.

    Let the fun begin!

  21. Yaaay! Surprise Lily sounds fun! Count me in.

    Maybe the love interest is a vet treating Lily’s cat?

    For those people who want a dog… Maybe the love interest has a dog being terrorized by Lily’s cat? Maybe his dog and her cat hate each other in the beginning just like their owners, and maybe the pets end up best buds in the end when the humans get their HEA?

  22. Now that I am WFH and may be doing so for up to 8 weeks (that is hard to get my head around) I would love a little writing game to play with all of you.

  23. I love the idea of this really huge, muscle, shaved head, and tattoos with this little bitty 2 pound dog…

    1. When you wrote that the actor Danny Trejo came to mind. He almost always plays a thug, but I’ve seen pictures of him in real life and he carries a small dog around with him.

  24. This would be great. Lilly or something new, I’m easy.
    I am in general a bright side, best case scenario kind of girl, but this is all quite overwhelming.

    On the unusually patriotic side, we have a PM and a govt who is caning it. I so want to be one of those countries like Singapore that keeps the curve flat, but even if not, our official govt COVID19 website leads with five key subject boxes. The first one is Be Kind.

    And because the Argh-writing-cooperative has yet to kick off, today’s happy is (mostly) Polish musicians playing a traditional irish session from their own individual homes. It’s fab. It’s on FB but I think it’s public so you can see it without having an account.

    1. That’s brilliant! (And how on earth did they avoid any lag?!) Especially liked the leprechaun playing the cello.

  25. I am out for a surprise lily. In part because I really like the snippet. And in part because I like the idea that surprise lily will be a surprise story

  26. I think what I love about your writing is the the punch it packs in a really short space. So I read the Surprise Lily snippet to my SO, and we both took it apart to work out why it was so (a) funny (b) moreish. Anyway, no surprises, more Surprise Lily, please and I’ll be really keen to get involved in the comments.

    1. Very shortly (g).
      Depending on how tomorrow goes (it should go just fine, I’m not going anywhere), I think I’ll put up a post with some very rough, general guidelines tomorrow, then repost the Lily bit with some questions on Monday, and see how that goes. But everything is subject to change. I figure we’ll learn how to do this by doing it.

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