Johannes Punkt’s Flaskpost

You may be required to show proof of id.

Tag: plots you can have

Plots You Can Have: Big Sprawling Novels Edition

Been a while since I did one of these. And NaNoWriMo is upon us — people might need inspiration? So, with some further ado.

Plots You Can Have is an ongoing series of posts where I give up stories for adoption. If any of these strike your fancy, please take them! And if you do write anything from this I would love to read it. For more posts, see: tag/plots-you-can-have


The One Earth Rule

genre: political far-future sci-fi, elements of cyberpunk and whatever comes after cyberpunk, stylistically

Have you heard of the One China Policy? Individual countries don’t exist anymore. Essentially, this is an idea about spies and diplomats; there are two or more governments calling themselves “Earth” and they’re all layered, all claiming to be separate from each other. Countries are no longer mapped out on, well, maps, but in more abstract ways. Off-world super cruise spaceships for the ultra-rich have broken down and are now as chaotic as Earth, and diplomats and ambassadors are sent up to these spaceships all the time. Sometimes diplomats do what diplomats love to do: break all the laws, go hunting the most dangerous game (humans interbred with strange alien parasites that roam about these space cruise ships).

One of the abstract ways that countries are mapped out is by way of cultural accumulation. Museums steal from each other — the most tenacious works of art must be the most valuable ones — and the culture elite of any given “Earth” are always trying to influence the cultures of the other Earths, while claiming to only draw inspiration from their own country.

From this, things spin out of control, of course.

Two main plots that fuse together later: 1. a museum director is trying to organise a museum heist of the most epic proportions: they are fiddling with data in order to steal an entire museum building over to their Earth. 2. a dickish diplomat is hunting human-things on a space cruise and gets fucked by the data-fiddling that the museum director is doing. Arrested because his country stopped existing for a while, then robbed of communications networks and left to survive on the chaotic cruise, ze decides to find out who is doing this and enact revenge upon them. Lots of subplots about how countries are reacting to all this, and especially the cultural world. Museum in-fighting is mesmerizing to watch. If you don’t believe me, read up on the Elgin Marbles. …/wiki/Elgin_Marbles


Read the rest of this entry »

Plots You Can Have: Low-Budget Indie Films Edition

Plots You Can Have is an ongoing series of posts where I suggest storylines for stories that came out of my head but that I have given up for adoption. If any of these strike your fancy, please take them! And if you do write anything from this I would love to read it. For more posts, see: tag/plots-you-can-have

This Plots You Can Have is about things I imagine would make good low-budget indie films.


“You have dreamt up a sick world.” (Variations on it are repeated throughout the movie like arc words.)

A person (who is really some form of deity but has repressed it) believes ze is experiencing psychosis and gets worried about it. First scene is where the deity explains to a psychoanalyst – the best in the field – that ze wants the psychoanalyst to follow hir around for a whole year and then come to a conclusion. The therapist protests, of course, but the deity presents hir with a lot of money, up-front, and gives hir a month to finish hir business before ze will come to pick hir up. When the money does not convince the therapist, the deity offers salvation instead.

It transpires that the deity is working as a world-class motivational speaker. The month passes quite quickly; the psychoanalyst lies to hir patients a bit and apologizes profusely but can’t say no to the deity’s offer. They travel the world a bit and things seem to be really quite bad wherever the deity goes. The psychoanalyst starts questioning hir own sanity, and at a conference for downtrodden psychopaths in business-clothes, ze decides the deity is the one who is making things bad. Now ze just needs to prove it.
Read the rest of this entry »

Plots You Can Have #5, Ambiguous Monsters Edition

[Content Warning: suicide, human sacrifice]

Previous part here: /2012/10/31/for-the-undecided-plots-you-can-have-nanowrimo-edition/

First part here: /2012/08/20/a-few-plots-you-can-have/


The Dalmour Parasite

a parasite that only infects suicidal people and turns them into psychopaths to make their lives better

Neil Ruthsmoke is a man who makes his friends suicidal. He cannot help it; it is not to do with his personality per se, it is just that his particular body odour trips bad wires in people’s brains; he is a freak of nature undiscovered by science. He is also quite depressed on account of this. Story is about how his psychologist both tracks the spread of the parasite and how it starts to take over hir. There is research into Ruthsmoke’s life, and the point where his friends stopped killing themselves and started becoming sociopaths is found. Good scenes might include: when the psychologist puts forth the idea that maybe, possibly, it’s all Ruthsmoke’s fault; when a friend breaks the pattern by topping hirself; when the psychologist realizes ze has probably been infected hirself.

Read the rest of this entry »

For the Undecided: Plots You Can Have, NaNoWriMo Edition

Don’t know what to write for Nano? Are you a planner caught by November with your breeches down? FEAR NOT. I am here to offer some last-minute, utterly stupid excellent ideas for you. You are free to use them however you like. I will be basing the things on quotes from various things.


Sufficiently advanced organized crime is indistinguishable from government. Okay, this quote is from me, I admit it. Imagine a novel which is about a mafia in some mediterranean country, and how the mafia family – as it grows larger and more influential – takes up more and more of the responsibilities of government, eventually even holding press conferences and being worried about public opinion. It would be a slow shift, and the main plot would be about, well, making money and smuggling.


A religion that doesn’t change is just as dead as a river that doesn’t move. Quoth Buddha or someone like that. This story would be about two elderly clerics tasked with modernizing their fringe religion, whose memberships have dwindled over the last centuries. Funny scenes include the time when their entire server gets hacked and their website made to display a rival religion’s stuff instead. The thing devolves into a battle between these two rival religions.


СЧАСТЬЕ ДЛЯ ВСЕХ, ДАРОМ, И ПУСТЬ НИКТО НЕ УЙДЕТ ОБИЖЕННЫЙ! (The end of Roadside Picnic, by the Strugatskies. In Russian here for reasons of ambiguity, spoiler-prevention, and also my pretentiousness.) What would happen if, right now, the world became a utopia? The utopia is not static, but say there is a superposition of an ultra-advanced society on top of ours. Follow small groups of protagonists as they pursue intellectual goals, try to uncover what the heck just happened, and go a bit nuts from conspiracy theorizing about it.


The fork was never found. From the Wikipedia article on Tarrare. You could write a fictionalized version of the life events of Tarrare or Charles Domery, who were men who could not stop eating. That Wikipedia article is one of the best wiki articles I’ve ever read, and a fictionalized version could be amazing. Suggested ideas: write it from the viewpoints of three or four different people interacting with him: the surgeon, the military interrogator, etc. It will be awesome. Do it.


If anyone decides to write these plots I would love to read them.


Plots You Can Have #3 – Futuristic Edition

[Trigger Warning: suicide]

Part 2:

Part 1:

This time we’ve got the following genres: existential romance, vigilante fiction, space anti-opera, paranoir, etc (did you know you can just make up genre names?)



existential romance

Futuristic Megacity. Boy meets girl. Boy splits into million versions of self, only one which dares fall in love with girl. Girl falls in love with boy. Suicide wave strikes city. Media panic. Boy questions own courage. Girl afraid of outside. City crumbles. Boy meets afraid version of himself. Girl confronts re: this; gets wrong version of boy. “You dared go outside.” Girl breaks down. Wrong version of boy convinces girl of double suicide. Right version of boy is too late. Stays there waiting for either of them to wake up again, because boy doesn’t want to Romeo. Fade out.
Read the rest of this entry »

Worldbuilding 3: When to Let Go, & New Stuff

Last entry in this series:


If you don’t put your heart into something it can never have the pulse you’ve taken all your life to protect. Similarly, I’ve grown disillusioned with the poisonbeasts and shall instead talk a bit about the deaths of things.

For me, most projects do not simply die, but poison the water and then appear as ghosts in the lucid dreams of my other projects. Which is a fancy way of saying I reuse things, at times, and ideas gnaw on the back of my skull often and hard.

It’s good to let things die, though. I can’t tie that into the other metaphors I’ve used here, so I’ll just say it plainly: deciding that a project is not worth your attention means you’re doing quality control and also that you won’t have to decide that /later/. Saying goodbye at 500 words in is better than 500 pages in, etc.

Letting things die isn’t the same as giving up. Giving up is all defeatlike. Someone once told me, or said in my vicinity, that creativity is the creation of many ideas and then pruning them until you find the ones that are salvageable. In light of that, whenever I let something die I write down another idea, or gravestone the thing into a drabble at the very least. Even if it’s bloody stupid. So, related to that last post about things you can have, here’s a bunch of things I might use, which are of course up for taking (do show me the work when you’re done with it if you pick one of these plots):

Read the rest of this entry »

A Few Plots You Can Have

Hi. Here are a few plots with accompanying titles you can have free of charge. Content warning: it is entirely possible these are all stupid, or at least pulp.


Hidden Profile

genre: thriller

Social media and serial killers – what’s FBI to do when their top criminal profiler, Adam Brundsbury, starts murdering people left right and centre, posting about it on microblogs and otherwise being invisible? Douglas Minth, the man who killed Brundsbury’s daughter, takes on the case at a price the bureau might soon regret paying.


The Scenic Route

genre: sci-fi

Aliens land on Earth, there’s a big party about them not killing us, and then both of the alien ambassadors are shot at point blank range. Still, it seems impossible to find out who actually shot them. Individuals stop existing; they all represent things to the aliens now, as the aliens launch an investigation of their own. Read this cultist conspiracy theory-inducing pageturner and feel the need for more, immediately.


If I Woke up on Earth

genre: historical/religious fiction

Two giants, Hilde and Ann, are awoken at each pole, unaware of each other, in the early middle ages. News travel slowly of their arrival but they eventually hear of each other and realize that they need to meet. However, an old prophecy foresees the end of the word if ever the twain shall meet, and there is kind of a plague breaking out in Europe. Tragic and entirely made up, this story takes us to a magical place that is, like most things magical, a bit uncomfortable.


A Mouth with Three Teeth

genre: spy fiction

Title comes from a powerful metaphor employed in the story. Lyndon Hannover is mistaken for a spy in Soviet Russia, but quickly grasps the Moscow Rules. His old life disappears before his eyes and before he knows it, he’s sitting in a radio tower, freezing to death, trying to decipher the codes with the help of a dead man’s diary. Turns out there’s a third player in the cold war …



genre: dark fantasy

An evil religion is channelling what they call the Imagination of the Watchers, and it seems the Watchers have only destruction on their minds. Gasparde and Viola, two senior priests in the nice religion  Skreeism (which deals in age and is the reason people die), are rejuvenated to infiltrate the Wentelwiekans in apprentix roles. However, when one has been old for 200 years, one savours the fruits of youth. Their love affair threatens the mission and they don’t care, even though the Wentelwiekans are getting closer and closer to summoning the Wentelwiek. They see portals created, whence evil comes, but are having problems caring. Et cetera.



genre: new weird

A world-renown mage challenges another world-renown mage on a duel and then realizes she is going to die in this duel, in what magelore calls a flash. She flees but the other mage is relentless: we follow both the magicians in a cat-and-mouse game all over the fossilized world of old earth, as magic is explained in more detail, and hope and time seem to run out.


Patient Zero

genre: zombie fiction

Trenton is turning into a zombie, despite the antiretrovirals he’s taking. His boyfriend leaves him, his family are concerned. Politicians are thinking of gassing him, to set an example. And eventually he just shoots himself to get it over with. He rises with a groan.