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©2017 by Marshall Bruno.

Image of Marshall With Bruises was makeup done by Libby Battista.

She did not punch him. 


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Creating Plots - Writing Workshop #2

October 22, 2014

Hello again, everybody! Last time I did one of these, it was about creating five different plots based on a single concept. This time around, I'm going create five more plots based on a brand new concept. As before, I don't plan to write stories from these plots; instead they are an exercise to come up with ideas and get myself thinking in different ways. I may try to make this into a weekly segment, so let me know if you're enjoying these! Also, feel free to leave concept ideas for future posts!


Concept: Worlds where transportation is dependent on animals.


Possible Plots:

  1. Set in the real world just before the rise of steam engines; horses are still primarily the source of transportation. This isn't so much a plot as a setting and a fact, so... It's a story of travel; the move from east to west in the US. A good portion of the story is based on the struggle of the travel and the need to keep the horse alive to get to the destination. Why the move? The main character would be an anti-hero, an outlaw running from Philadelphia to the unclaimed Western lands in hopes to evade the police. What was the crime? Stealing a god damn horse. From the god damn Batman.

  2. Large crustaceans with metal shells, the height and length of a school bus, though much wider. They are drawn to a magnetic metal that is mined on this non-earth planet. People are nearly at war, so to speak, with the creatures, as they constantly invade mines and refineries to steal the metal. It's found that by creating an alloy of this magnetic metal and aluminum, the crustaceans will flock to the spot, but the aluminum reacts with their own metal shells, causing an allergic reaction that effectively shuts down their minds, though they don't die. People find a way to guide the crustaceans along "tracks" of the alloy, allowing for transportation much faster than walking. This couldn't be the main plot of a story, but could be an interesting "other-worldly" transportation mechanism to put into a story.

  3. A Tree-top dwelling community that relies on large birds with whom they live for transportation. There is no dry ground to be found, so humans are relegated to living in trees. The large birds and humans cohabitate in large nests of sorts. The birds only accepted the humans into their nests as they found the humans could help improve the nests. The birds themselves are two to three times the size of the average human. Their eggs are twice as large as an ostrich egg and equally hard to break open. Once the trust between animals became stronger, the people started mounting the birds to ride. These birds are intelligent too, they learned quickly what some gestures from the people meant, as well as a few verbal commands. Likewise, humans were forced to learn to interpret more bird calls. The understanding between species is a key component here. Bird-human cohabitations form bonds like families, either species willing to fight and die for the other. That familial feeling does not extend beyond one's own nest however.

  4. Another world without much dry land. People have changed in such a way that they live in the water. Not under water, but on the water. They rely on makeshift rafts mostly, though some have been able to repurpose some old boats from the days when boats were manufactured. Since these rafts aren't the most reliable way to get from area to area, and the boats are few and far between, people are semi-domesticated large sea creatures. There are areas where people have built floating cities, and thanks to old fashioned nautical navigation techniques, people are able to find their way from one city to another. There are also boueys positioned between some towns. The large sea creatures that are used for transport are blocked off from the open oceans by nets that run under the water from city to city.

  5. A world where a parasite is found and begins decimating humanity. The parasite is what is transporting, humans are the mode by which they do so. A la The Stand, it's the story of a world destroyed by sickness and the struggle of the few that remain after.

  6. Bonus: A children's story about a mouse that rides a friendly cat. The mouse smells peanut butter in the cabinet and teams up with the cat of the house, Snurfles, to retrieve some. Along the way they have to evade the two kids of the house, who are looking for Snurfles to dress him up like a princess kitty cat. The parents in the house want the mouse out of the house. Every time they've caught him before, they put him outside (cause I ain't killin' things in a kids book).

Well, I did six this time around. Number five ended up being a little sparse, so I felt I should add another. I also like the idea of having concepts for different genres included in these.


Unlike last week, this idea didn't come from a class I'm taking. Instead, I thought about the concept from last time. It is very much a "what if..." scenario I created, where I asked What if people worshiped religion. I considered what else I could say "what if..." about? I also just happened to have the sentence, "animals used as transport" saved in a google drive file for random idea fragments. Well, putting two and two together, I got this blog post.


What did you think of the ideas? Was my crustacean idea too far fetched? What ideas can you come up with, and what concepts should I use in future posts? Let me know below in the comments!

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