Johannes Punkt’s Flaskpost

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Tag: stories

Opening Sentence

I’m opening all my books to read the opening sentence out loud, then closing them again. It’s becoming a disjointed story that doesn’t care about characters or theme or even language, having switched tongues three or four times already. Some of its sentences are very short, trying to make an impact, and others are several lines long, desperately trying to get me to stay for as long as possible. But it is very concerned with introductions, like someone who obviously has something important to say, who keeps stretching their hand out to shake yours, but doesn’t get further than that.

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.