Themefest

Well I’m one and a half weeks from needing a completed piece of fiction. Alright, not completed, but outlined with 4 – 8 pages written, and written well enough that I won’t be embarrassed to show them to a room full of people.

I’m turning over the idea of Party at Steve’s! in my head still. I’m starting to think that would make a better poem than a story. Well… no, it would probably be a better story, but this class requires 3 poems and only one story, so I might bump Party at Steve’s! to poem status. I think I would do a sort of Synchronicity II sort of idea, with one stanza being about the party-goers doing their thing, and the next being about the homeless guy in the alley outside, and as the party climbs in intensity so does the encounter between the homeless guy and the gang, culminating in the homeless guy being burned to death and the gang joining the party. Anyhow, it has some potential.

So that leaves me back at the starting point for a story. I’m thinking of going back to the human breeds idea. Basically, the theme is that all of mankind’s beliefs and governments and morals amounts to not very much – it’s all entirely transitory and can disappear in an instant. So in the story aliens take over the Earth and (over several millenia) humans become like dogs. So instead of one “breed” of humans, there are dozens that have different appearances and mannerisms and abilities. I think I would even name them after dog breeds, so there would be hounds, spaniels, retrievers, and so on. Some humans would have “jobs” in the sense that some dogs have jobs, like guarding and so on, but most would just be companions.

Ideas:

  • In general, humans can’t speak, but some breeds could be taught like parrots to mimic the aliens’ tongue… could be a good ending? Kind of horrific: “Mom I taught Buddy to speak, watch!” “Oh, that’s cute son; he’s going to be so much fun.” “Yeah, he is… but sometimes he doesn’t talk right; sometimes it sounds like he has his own language.” In the next room Buddy, curled into a ball on his bed, mutters to the wall, “can’t anyone remember? Can’t anyone stop this? Please kill me.” No, actually it would be better if Buddy was at a kennel… or a ‘human’ park or something – he’s learned to talk again and he’s among a group of humans of various breeds all sniffing and licking each other as they bound around him, and he’s looking at them all saying, “can’t any of you remember? Can’t anyone stop this?” It’s got potential as an ending.
  • Too much like Planet of the Apes? Might be.
  • Work backwards from the end… how to outline the story to build the theme… if the theme is disintegration of everything –  society, morals, culture – can I just show the end result? These dog-people wandering around?
  • The aliens hold our accomplishments in contempt: they have exhibits of our society the way we would display a wasp nest or ant hill. They dismiss us as so primitive there was never anything for them to learn from us. Instead, our rudimentary intellects were determined to be only advanced enough for us to destroy ourselves, but never to accomplish anything of lasting value, therefore we were enslaved. Need to develop this; did the aliens view us as having ‘rudimentary’ intellect, or were we so far behind them they didn’t even see it as that. Maybe our cities looked like anthills or wasp nests to them, and our armies and weapons were like monkeys throwing their own shit. Good metaphor there, maybe work it in.
  • Humans are given dog names for the reader’s benefit – helps reader understand that humans are just pets. Buddy, Spot, Rover, Yeller… any Ceaser Millan references? No, that’s a bad idea.
  • Main alien character is Buddy’s owner. He wants to be a veterinarian… always trying to learn more about humans, provides an opportunity to walk the reader through the different breeds and the history of what happened.
  • Need to continue outline – this one might need a bit of a plot… not much though. Buddy thinks he’s going to be put down – end up at the human park instead… no, doesn’t work. Day-in-the-life maybe? Nothing huge in terms of plot, but rather a mundane day where Buddy is surrounded by wonders but understands none of them, just sniffs things and licks his butt and hopes to be taken to the park.
  • That calls for some imagination – alien tech is outlines in abstract terms; human intelligence to the aliens is like dog intelligence to humans, so they have unbelievable – and not understandable – tech. Frame in terms of basic needs when looked at by humans.

 

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