Posts in: April 22nd, 2008

Joke Ideas

I hate it when I have an idea that starts as a joke but turns into something legitimate, like that Young Patriots idea or Rolling in It: The Movie. Both started out as jokes, but the more I thought about them, the more I liked them. It’s a sickness, I think. I have commercial instincts—really, I do!—I just choose to ignore them so I can focus on crazy shit people would probably pay me not to think about.

The latest came about simply enough. Thumbing through the Writer’s Market to find a suitable publisher of my epic masterwork, it occurred to me that very few of them dealt with a genre I’d classify as “comedy.” Many of the ones listed as “humor/satire” focused more on something political or nonfiction. Even worse, many of them pigeonhole themselves into a particular genre…and that’s where the joke idea came from. Since my current novel can’t even fit into a different, non-comedic genre (like “detective fiction” or “romance novel”), the places where I can submit it are severely limited. I told a friend of mine that I should start writing a novel that combines every conceivable genre. She thought that was hilarious, and together we concocted a basic story:

At an unspecified point in the future (sci-fi!), a private investigator (mystery!) on the Martian colonies (also sci-fi!), which have been dubbed by Earth as the “new frontier” (western!), is hired to search for the woman he once loved (romance!). When independent-minded colonists start to talk revolution (political allegory!*), war breaks out between Mars and Earth (war!). Against this colorful backdrop, the P.I. has to return to Earth undetected (thriller!) and search an unfamiliar world (adventure!) until he reunites with his love (more romance!).

So yeah, it’s about as retarded as you’d expect…

or is it?!

It’s rough around the edges, although maybe not for an idea that was fleshed out during a 15-minute gigglefest**, but once I started to think about it, it does seem like the kind of goofy comedy I could have a lot of fun with. Once I flesh it out and iron out the story kinks, it could be entertaining…but will it be commercial?

*Also a shameless rip-off of Greg Bear’s Moving Mars.

**If it’s wrong to hang around with women and giggle like a schoolgirl, I don’t want to be right.

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