Deliberately awful ideas for aspiring authors

Almost anyone can, with careful prose and years of practice, take a brilliant idea and make at least an okay story out of it. But taking an awful idea and making it work- that’s the sign of a true master (is it? I dunno, but it sounded cool).

And who knows, maybe some of them will turn out to be so bad they’re good again.

Sequels (halloween themed)

A sequel to call me by your name. Elio and Oliver are now both vampires (or maybe just one of them).

A sequel to Romeo and Juliet. Romeo and Juliet are both now liches as the poison had an unexpected side effect. Can their dark magic bring peace to a troubled city? Have their heads cooled any now they’re all circlet of bone?

A sequel to Lady Chatterley’s lover- all the main characters are now Chinese hopping vampires

A sequel to Hamlet, they’re all now ghosts and, because they are bound to the one location, have to learn to live with each other. It’s a sitcom.

Life of Brian, the second coming


Karl Marx is born in very different circumstances but he still writes the communist manifesto, in a parallel magic society very similar to the one featured in Harry Potter

The nightmare before Christmas, but they’re all just the sad case versions of cosplayers dressing up as Halloween monsters to escape crushing mundanity

Pirates of the Caribbean, except it’s the kind of cloying young adult novel that would win a Newberry medal.

Thelma and Louise, except they’re both frat boys.

Stolen from a meme I saw once: The planeteers fight pollution and environmental destruction with their five rings, earth, fire, wind, water and heart. But they were all of them deceived, for another ring was made, one ring to rule them all…

Deceived : lotrmemes

There’s nothing in the rulebook which says you can’t have a crocodile on the team, so it’s a good thing this one is toothless.

Bridget Jones’s diary, but it’s a literary novel

Courtroom drama/procedural in the court of Judge Hate from Pilgrim’s progress


The Irish troubles, but if Irish folklore were all 100% true.

It’s the end of days and the dead have been raised. You are an angelic lawyer. Your brief, to argue for the defence in the final trial- that even the worst monsters of history should not be condemned for all eternity. The LORD is the judge, and their victims are the jury. (Another one than probably needs to be handled with great sensitivity if you don’t want to get cancelled).

Medical drama style plot, characterisation, pacing, dramatic states, etc., except the characters are office workers, with completely ordinary office problems. Played almost entirely straight.

Mars, the God of War, is trying to chat up some belle and/or beau in a bar. Mars is cringe. Hermes is his love coach, waiting in the wings.

You wakeup one morning. It’s famous singer songwriter Sufjan Stevens at your door. He shakes your shoulders and he shakes your face- “We must immanentize the eschaton”.

An immortal whose life has spanned 10,000 years. He’s really dull, heartsick, has no special powers and isn’t especially talented at anything. He has experienced few, if any of the big events of the last millennia. He’s trying to explain how, and to a certain degree justify why, he has wasted his life to a journalist who has tracked him down, and also convince the journalist to keep his secret.

Maybe actually not bad ideas but very hard to pull off

Everyone suddenly has an aura which indicates their degree of virtue or vice.

Everyone instantaneously acquires an aphasia which prevents them conveying information through language, although they can still express emotions etc., and their thoughts remain intact. As civilization collapses and humanity faces possible extinction, a character tries to tie up emotional loose ends.

Everyone on the planet who is not 29 years old dies suddenly. The traumatised survivors try to rebuild in the absence of even a vague sense of how it happened.

Fiction told through a belles lettres essay by the local equivalent of Susan Sontag.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s