Monday, February 13, 2006

Something or Nothing # 2

And because this story or something similar may have already been done, I'd need to research. That's one thing Ken and I have found in our ongoing research in fictional writing: there are very, very few original ideas. There are original spins off old ideas, and this makes up most of fictional writing, but you rarely find something so original that it hasn't been thought of.

Anyhoo, this Something or Nothing isn't a story; it's an idea for one. It fights the notion that some things are simply to repugnant to be a protagonist. I'm really not big on stories with talking animals or creatures as their main protagonists (although there are a few I've enjoyed), so this one will be against the grain for me.

Protagonist: A young cockroach
Theme: Perseverance despite having everyone and everything against you
Plot: A young cockroach living in a mansion learns that his mother has been caught in a black widow's web. The impregnated widow, as the story begins, is off chasing her husband trying to kill him, but the male spider is making a valiant chase of it. However, the gross insect that is relating the story to the young cockroach is stomped and smushed (our hero would make a narrow escape, of course) before he can reveal the location of the spider's web. So the cockroach makes a thorough search of the manison, inside and out, narrowly avoiding death from people and creatures trying to kill him to find his mother before she's fatally poisoned by the spider.
Resolution: Cockroach must confront and overcome the black widow to rescue his mother.

Why it can work --

1) Unusual POV from an unusual protagonist
2) First person characterization of a cockroach would be intriguing
3) Conflict / tension would start right off as a "race against the clock"
4) Great potential for humor, especially with different ways cockroaches continue to survive
5) Secondary theme of "Good versus Evil" (sort of)
6) Good potential settings
7) Creatures you don't usually see and humans, especially caricatures of a Hollywood (star) family, could be interesting

Why it can't work --

1) Please not another talking bug story
2) Too formulaic / unoriginal
3) No one can root for a cockroach as a protagonist
4) Not enough of an antagonist - either the black widow isn't a menacing enough villain or she isn't shown enough throughout the story (because it would be more the spectre of her than it would be actually seein gher until the end confrontation - might see a picture of her dismissing her husband at some point in the book)
5) Weak thematic elements
6) Plot's not going to hold up for a whole story

I dunno. I laugh when I think about it, but just because I do doesn't mean others would. Plus, just because it's worth a laugh doesn't mean that it's worth the time writing the story. But maybe... So is this cockroach survival story idea Something, is it Nothing, or would you just have to wait to see what was written before you could even begin to say?


codepoke said...


I see a couple quick jokes, but I don't see anything that makes me pick that book up. Of course, in Atlanta I had a 6 months long struggle with the little monsters, and I'll not be sympathetic to them any time soon.

Rich said...

Thanks, codepoke.