Future Story Ideas

Here's a "living blog post" to remind me of the ideas I've had for future stories, be they feature length screenplays, short screenplays, short stories, prose books, children's books, audio plays, or as-yet-to-be-determined ideas. Some of these are pretty rough and some are just nuggets of ideas, but I'm okay with that - they'll be smoothed out and extended once I take them out of the drawer.

A pre-teen boy living in a swampy backwoods village gets severely injured. For the first time in his life, his mother is forced to bring him to a hospital. Once he returns home, he is followed by a strange woman who appears outside his window. When the boy seeks out the mysterious woman, he learns of a dark episode from his childhood. Fun Fact: While I was working out this premise, I didn't have a title - then I got a "malformed request" from a website's contact form. Nice timing.

(Untitled - maybe "Backroads")
When I was younger, my Dad told me about a trip my family took, to a friend or relative's house in rural North Jersey - a part of the state we'd never been to before We arrived late in the evening on a Friday, after the sun had set (so my Dad didn't have a good sense of the area), and were invited to stay for the night. After dinner, I got violently ill - vomiting and shaking, with deep fever-like symptoms. My parents called around and got an emergency number for a pharmacist who worked out of his house. This is the mid-70's (a perfect time for horror - no cell phones or GPS), by the way. My Mom stayed with the friend/relative while my Dad drove me at night down dark, unfamiliar roads trying to find the pharmacist's house. When he finally found it, the pharmacist was very strange, and had this big parlor-like room where he kept his drugs, which he was in no rush to dispense to my Dad - but eventually, he did. I'm pretty sure I remember laying in the back seat while my Dad was driving around in a panic, trying to find the place. It may have been a fever dream, I may have just imagined it after hearing him tell me about it a few times, but I know there's at least a short horror story here. A sick kid, unfamiliar area, strange guy who you're depending on for help... seems perfect.

The Sleepover
A 12-year-old boy recovers from a long-term illness. His parents are let him have a celebratory sleepover, inviting a dozen or so of his friends. In the excitement and confusion, they don't realize that one of the boys doesn't really know their son (though he does seem familiar) and no one can remember inviting him. Once the parents are upstairs for the night, the uninvited boy begins causing chaos in the house, telling the other boys about the secrets of adulthood and daring them to do unthinkable acts before dawn.

(untitled - dual-photo story)
One of the idea nuggests: A character visits another person that they don't know well (maybe a friend-of-a-friend, or someone hosting a party) and sees himself/herself in one of the framed photos on the wall (possibly at a theme park), with a camera - he/she reveals that he/she has the reverse photo at home. Not sure where I'd go from there, but I've always thought this kind of coincidence must happen (especially on sites like Flickr) - I also think the idea is somewhat influenced by Smoke, a favorite movie of mine. Inspired by two family photos from my own family, from a Disney trip - two of us were taking pictures of my nephew meeting Mickey, from opposite sides, and got each other in the frame.

Overgrowth (in progress)
Right after we bought our house and moved in, I was sitting in our living room and checking out the property out on Google Earth. I saw a strange structure in the back yard (the satellite photo was a few years old), then turned right in my chair, pulled up the blinds, and saw a mound of oddly-packed dirt in the spot where this structure once stood. It got me thinking of a story idea, and I've recently begun working on it as an audio play:
A young guy who sells things on eBay for a living is asked by his father to move into his recently-deceased Great Uncle's house to sell off the belongings. Once he's there, he finds satellite evidence of a structure in the house's foliage-heavy back yard, and then runs into a strange retiree who was very close to his Great Uncle. Things unravel from there.

Possible titles: Data Loss. System Recovery. Failure.
A girl computer tech gets assigned data recovery on a client's computer. She starts working on the recovery, then finds out from her manager that the client has died. The girl begins looking through the data she's recovered and getting to know her deceased client.

(untitled - maybe "Scheduled Posts")
Probably too close to the above idea for both to work. A man dies, and his wife discovers that he has written months' worth of blog posts, each scheduled to be published daily. She is given the opportunity to receive these posts all at once, but declines, instead enjoying the simulated daily updates from their loved one. (this may be too small an idea - could be incorporated into another story as a subplot)

Prussian Blue
A 20-year-old young man goes to a family funeral for his Great Uncle Through interweaving anecdotes from different family members and friends, he discovers that as a little boy, he was responsible for his Great Uncle losing one of his eyes. The fake eye he wore, by the way, was colored "Prussian Blue" - a color I once read on a tube of paint in college. I started working on this story idea in 1993, and then saw a novel with the same title and, stubbornly, gave it up. Now I see on Amazon that there are a few books and audio books with the same title - I should have hung in there.

The Border Guard
Children's book. A little girl in a divided city saves the life of a scary guard who controls the passage between the two halves of the city. In gratitude, he gives her a week to decide who she'd like to take with her through the gate - and there will be no return. I began drawing the main characters... also back in '93.

I'll post updates if/when any of these gets some progress - Overgrowth will be the first.


  1. The last four really appeal to me, which is interesting since three of them deal with learning about the events of someone's life after it has ended. "Data Recovery" (well, that's what I would call it) intrigues me the most.

    "The Border Guard" could be the vehicle for a very powerful message. I like the idea of a city divided... Creating that mature universe would be awesome for a children's book, in my opinion.

  2. I got the idea for Data Recovery when I had a hard drive failure a few months ago - I had to leave my Mac at the Apple store for weeks (before the issue) to fix some odd problem that they could never identify - in the end, they gave me a new Mac... but the day they were to transfer my information from the old hard drive, it failed. I wound up paying $2100 for a data recovery firm to restore it. Blech. Anyway, that got me thinking about "What if I never came back?" and then "What if I died, and they had my drive?" Happy thoughts - could lead to some good drama, though.

    I started The Border Guard in the mid-90's... like a lot of these half-finished projects. I did a couple illustrations for it, to try to get the style down. I'll have to scan that in for a future post.

    I had so much momentum going on Prussian Blue until I saw that book in B. Dalton Booksellers... funny how married you can become to just a simple title, but that title did bring the whole concept together for me - the Great Uncle was kind of stylish and picked that color fake eye because of its fancy name - so once it was used by someone else, I lost interest. Maybe it'll be revived someday, when I find a better, unused color title.