Wazzup Pitches?

Note: this is a repost of a journal entry I made on deviantart. It’s updated, but check the original for the great comments.

Writing excuses had a really cool line: think of the pitch for your story before you start writing. If you can’t think of a good, short pitch, there might be something wrong with the way you’re thinking about the story.

And given my trouble with The World’s Other Side (“A terrorist falls in love”? “Aborigines conquered the world”? “A language teacher comes to terms with the primitive culture of English-speaking Christians”?) I tend to believe the Writing Excuses people are onto something.

So here are the projects currently on my horizon, more or less in order of completeness.

Groom of the Tyrannosaur Queen “The greatest warrior in a savage world steals a weapon, and discovers the weapon is a woman from the future.” Conan the Barbarian meets Battlestar Galactica, more or less literally.

New Frontiers  “When a high-level alien investor dies on Earth, an inter-species sex-worker must find the real murderer to prevent the enslavement of humanity.” David Brin channels Alfred Kinsey.

Martian Law “Being an ongoing chronicle of the life and work of Percival Q. Singh, heir to the wonders and troubles born of a century of Martian domination, and our best hope to prevent another war of the worlds.”

Charming Lies: “A spy and enchanter for the Ottoman sultan uncovers a nest of rebels and a magical artifact of frightening power.” James bond kills people with his mind and works for the Sultan.

Router: “A party of investors, scientists, and adventurers bushwhack their way through an alien world.” the Louis and Clark of speculative biology

Voyage of Discovery: “Baldomir, apprentice to the Rhomanian Strategos, flees Stamboli just ahead of the Chorazmian cannon. He runs so far, in fact, that he discovers a New Continent.”

Emil Jadid (New World): “Space exploration is foolish and against rational self- interest. That is how the greatest discovery in history was made by irrational fools.” Emirate astronauts discover a wormhole leading to new lands and incalculable wealth.

 Zoo of Peoples: “Applied social theory has saved humanity a dozen times. But is perfect social engineering worth the cost of social experimentation?”

The Loftkith: “Beware. The skies above the superconductor fungus are not safe for lone travelers.”  Also, GM human radios.

The Wild Far East: “Kusawara Hayauchi only wanted to deliver his cattle to the Yankijin and drink his Bakerosu’s salary away, but then a woman fleeing a burning pueblo stumbles into his camp and dumps a problematic papoose into his lap.” Magic instantaneous communication and a Japanese West Coast.

Boldly go: These are the voyages of the Pinnace Sagadahoc. Her mission: to explore the strange Old World, to seek out allies and partners in arms. To fearlessly tread lands no Abenaki has seen.

Kill the Angels: “A crypto-atheist plots the assassination of a powerful local angel.”

Birthing Ghosts: “The ghost of a recently departed king attempts to stop the outbreak of civil war in his kingdom, while magicians work to blur the line between the Living, the Dead, and the Divine.” AKA The Heike Monogatari, but fun.

Those who Can’t: “A hilarious practical joke strands a professional wizard in a foreign country, where to survive he must teach his secrets to others.” A Wizard of Earthsea meets Community.

Cog Work: “The upstart Romans think themselves a match for Arshak, Mechanic of Parthia? Well, let them come, and learn as other have to bow before the awesome clockwork armies of the Mechanism!”

TeslaPunk:”More coal to the flywheels, Sasha! We must have the Death Beam charged before the agents of the Moon Kremlin arrive!”

My name is Zmey: “A peace corps volunteer in Bulgaria runs afoul of the local mythology.” Turns out lizard-people have been controlling us since before history. Who knew? Also romance.

Cytopolis: “A girl stumbles into a library where strings of words make people, machines, and monsters.” If Niel Gaiman studied biochemistry.

Evil Eye: “A family moves to the big city, where they find the powerful Evil Eye works somewhat differently from back in the village.”

Let us eat them: “A democratic revolution wracks a kingdom where aristocrats gain power through cannibalism.”

Whew. Which ones sound the most promising? Let’s seem some comments, people 🙂

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  • MicSil

    The Wild Far East certainly caught my eye. I’d like to see some cowboy karate or ronin desperados for sure.

  • MicSil

    From what I’ve read James Bowie’s skill with his namesake knife owes a great deal to sabre fencing. Granted, most other frontiersmen would rely on the old hack and slash. Also, the American South developed its own martial art called Rough and Tumble, or, more descriptively, Gouging. Davy Crockett is supposed to have been quite adept at it. It supposedly died off with the advent of the revolver.

    Even a small group of people descended from samurai amongst the population could help the existence of a system of armed and unarmed combat. Some Okinawan emigrants perhaps? Or monks straight from China?

    • dan

      I would love to see how Gouging might evolve under the influence of, say, kendo.
      I’ll need to do more thinking about who might bring those martial arts to the New World. My idea is that Toyotomi Hideyoshi founded a government in exile on the West Coast in 1598, perhaps on a site already settled by pirates. Karate didn’t exist as a codified martial art at that time (although the timing is close), nor did kendo. In fact, a lot of the cultural traditions we think of when we think “Japan” only date back to the 1600s, during the Tokugawa era, which the colonization of North America predates. But there should be something reasonably resembling samurai.

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