From the idea box

For years now, I’ve kept a battered old metal index card box of story ideas. Coming up with story ideas is the easy part for me; it’s writing them that’s all the work. But I like to hang on to the ideas I do come up with, in case they prove useful someday.

And sometimes they do. In going through the box this year, I found six cards that I pulled out because, in one form or another, I’d already written them over the past few years, including two cards that were clearly early notes for Bones of Faerie.

I also, of course, came upon a fair number of ideas that, while they all seemed a good idea at the time (some still seem a good idea; others just seem silly now), I’ve realized I’m never going to write. So I’m listing those below, on the off chance they might spark something for someone else; and also because it seems a little sad to toss them into the recycling bin without making some note of them first.

– Train dogs: Is a live dog a sign that the air in a train is safe to breathe?
– “They ask ‘What?’ not ‘Why?’
– A society where half the children don’t survive adolescence
– Phlogisten = magic
– The kid who acquires a baby sister via time travel
– Love as a controlled substance–not illegal, but there’s a surgeon general’s warning
– We explore space and find–of all things–humans–and need to figure out why
– Sending children ahead in time (instead of out of the country) to escape Nazi Germany
– “I’ve never been so embarrassed in my life. Why didn’t you tell me I was from Mars?”
– What do you do if you find a dragon eating the next planet over? (Offer it catsup?)
– “There were dragons in corporate America.”
– Hermione (Helen’s daughter) as the POV for a Helen of Troy story
– Carnivorous sparrows
– “Gadgets” (an Analog story)
– What if glow in the dark food made kids glow in the dark?
– “I stopped believing in Santa Claus the day my family died. It was his fault, you see.”
– Bioengineering pets for 8 year olds
– Secret Language: the story of a kid learning a nearly-dead language from a grandparent and passing the language on at school
– The day the animals all got speech (and could thus express their wants for real)
– Adults being sent back, in teen/kid bodies, with the mission of changing the ways in which school is hell from within, since adults have had such bad luck doing so from without
– “Don’t touch those pomegranate seeds!” (Sound of footsteps, pounding across room)
– Sky Riders
– The Only Child Club
– “Suffer the squids”
– What if magic only manifests in those who find true love?
– A rocket scientist as mystery detective

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