A Cowboy Walks into a Bar

November is halfway done. Which means that NaNoWriMo is halfway done too. Of course, it’s ridiculous to expect anyone to write a good 50,000 word novel in just a month, and that’s exactly why I would love to give it a shot one day. But somehow, ever since I found out about this yearly event, its seems that every November is stuffed with other things to do, so I haven’t come round to giving it a shot. Yet.

Of course, there are other reasons, like my mastery of procrastination and the lack of ideas worth pursuing.

A couple of weeks ago, Dutch filmmaker Paul Ruven was on Dutch tv-show De Wereld Draait Door promoting his new book, in which he describes how you can get rich by pitching a single sentence to Hollywood. Supposedly, ideas like “Titanic, a love story” and “Liar Liar is a comedy about a lawyer, who can’t lie for a day because he will otherwise lose his son” are worth a million dollars, even without a screenplay attached. I don’t buy that for a second. Sure, Hollywood may have some conventions, but I don’t believe there are hard rules for a movie pitch which will guarantee you a load of cash.

What I will buy, is the general concept that ideas for stories are easy to come by. Hell, the reason I’m writing this post is that I just came up with another one. Sometimes an image pops up in my head, sometimes I read a sentence which could be the title of a book and poke at it, twist and turn it around and try to come up with an interesting angle, and sometimes, well, there’s just a “what if?” situation. But I never have any clue where to take that idea. Maybe I should just stop thinking about writing and start doing it: just sit down and start putting words in the right order.

Here are some of the half-baked ideas I’ve been toying around with.

  • On a bright sunny day you step out of your front door just to find that while you weren’t paying attention the world as we know it has ceased to exist.
  • There are those who claim that the moon landing is a hoax. And they are right. At least, what we consider to be the 1969 moon landing is nothing but a scheme to divert your attention from what really happened.
  • My glamorous love life and other things that didn’t actually happen. An autobiography.
  • Somewhere in the multi-verse there exists a bar where the archetypal, cardboard characters of bad fiction gather to blow off steam.