I’m no genius. Just a guy who enjoys the use of false modesty. So, as a gesture of humility, I’ve decided to compile a list of truly awful ideas that have been crowding my notebook since high school and make fun of how amazingly uninspired I have often been – and still am, sometimes. What I’ll do is put the ideas/pitches/plans to commit plagiarism in quotes and then follow them with some commentary for the sake of both context and self-effacing humor. It’ll be fun. Trust me, I’m a genius.
“A web novel about an angry teenager with no life who decides to become a superhero to spite his parents.”
Those of you who’ve been around with MWT since its early days might remember Shademan. If so, I urge you to forget it for my sake if nothing else. Shademan was conceived, as I recall, during the height of my ‘edgy as fuck’ period. Junior year, I think. Embarrassingly enough, I can actually remember writing the first chapter of this – let’s face it – extended masturbation project and thinking that I was going to change the game forever. Picture it: the epic and timeless story of a teenager with murder powers who whines his way through a first-person narrative and occasionally mutilates some unsuspecting hoodlum in a quest to be taken seriously by his practically guiltless parents. With a few tweaks, I bet I could repurpose this thing as a Xavier-esque comedy.
“A weekly series of articles where I review, in each installment, a different anime series. The twist is that I’m not a weaboo and thus these reviews will all be that much more accessible.”
Take it from me, kids: if you have to deny in your own series pitch that you’re a weaboo, then you are probably a weaboo. It’s like I didn’t already know that there’s been more written on the internet about anime since 1995 than there exists literature written in the vernacular since the publishing of Don Quixote in 1605. I’d still love to do a review/analysis vlog of the entire Gundam franchise from the original 1979 series to present, but food costs money and I’m even worse at editing videos than I am at taking my self-loathing out in a productive manner. You swine.
“A screenplay trilogy adapting The Sinestro Corps War to film.”
Sane people were disappointed by 2011’s Green Lantern movie. Others saw it as a personal affront and thus took offense to its existence. I swore a blood oath of vengeance against Warner Brothers and Ryan Reynolds before declaring that I could do better and setting off to write my answer to Nolan’s Dark Knight saga. There have to be worthier reasons to get that mad.
“A short story where anthropomorphized versions of all the social networking websites do funny stuff.”
Lemme spoil the ending: 4chan ruins everyone’s day.
“Two words: political poetry.”
I feel like I should apologize to the world for even thinking that this wouldn’t suck. The plan was to capture the buzz surrounding the 2012 presidential election with long-form poetry a la Allen Ginsberg. If I’d actually done this, the whole thing probably would have looked like Survivalism (the only Nine Inch Nails song that I think is legitimately terrible).
“Shademan, except I ape X-Men this time instead of Spider-Man.”
I’m pretty sure Clandestine can still be found on this site’s archives somewhere. Now, I like to think that there were a few ideas behind Clandestine that weren’t literarily equivalent to homeopathy as a legitimate alternative to vaccination. Be that as it may, the whole thing kind of fell down in its rushed execution – a plot-driven story is something you actually have to plan, it turns out. On the bright side, Clandestine (why did I even call it that?) was the last project I ever half-assed. It was a learning experience, if very little else.
“An anti-Twilight vampire novel.”
High school was an interesting time in my life. I happened to find myself drifting through the place during the four years when anyone actually took Stephenie Meyer’s fanfiction-quality drivel seriously. Now, I think I mentioned earlier that I have a hard time picking good things to get angry at. Not this time. I will apologize for none of the mission I undertook in high school to discredit Meyer as a legitimate anything, and the school paper was my weapon of choice. Of course none of what I did actually mattered; I more succeeded at pissing off a few idiot freshmen girls than anything else. Having recognized this, I decided to write the book that would kill the trend Meyer started. This is where I maybe started taking things too seriously. Mercifully, Suzanne Collins happened just in time for me to come to my senses and realize just how silly this whole endeavor had been. Thank you, Katniss.
“Begin a secret relationship with a girl who is already with someone else with the end goal of winning her over.”
It didn’t work.
“A political thriller about a cyborg super soldier who runs for president.”
Man, did I ever have to dig to find this one. The thing about being a writer is that you’ll often think to yourself “How hard can it be?” See, the whole ‘cyborg super soldier’ thing was, I think, a product of my having been in the eighth grade at that point. The real fuck up here was thinking I had any idea how to write a political thriller. I wasn’t even allowed to vote yet.
“A dystopian science fiction novel about a government that controls the populace by putting subliminal messages in video games.”
I don’t even know where this idea came from. Honestly, I was surprised to find it scribbled down in one of my old high school notebooks. The premise doesn’t really bear talking about; it’s terminally stupid and there isn’t much else to say about it. Right now, I’m far more interested in what else I can find in this thing. There has to be more.
“A novel about a superhero who wants to kill all the other superheroes because they’re evil. This superhero doesn’t have any powers except he can read and mess with people’s emotions and is a mastermind.”
Holy hell, I actually remember this. Man, what was it about me and my obsession with angsty, murderous superheroes? I think I was really into Death Note when I started writing this thing. Looking through one or two pages of it, I’m infinitely grateful that I discovered Aaron Sorkin and learned to write dialogue. The characters in this sound like they’ve been shot through Google Translate a few times.
“A short story or series of short stories about a detective agency whose members are all beings of various folklore from around the world.”
It seems like the default thing to do with interesting characters is have them solve crimes or put them in high school. There’s probably a reason for this but it beats the hell out of me as to what this reason could be. As clumsy as the concept for this thing was – the main character was going to be a kami (from Japanese mythology) of “the streets” – I was at least thinking. There are probably better applications for a team of folk creatures than the solving of mysteries. Maybe if I had them all share an apartment, trying to get by in the big city. Yeah. I can’t see that being shit at all.
“An essay about the finer points of why feminism is poisoning America.”
Ho boy. I guess I should start by saying that I am a very different person than I was during my freshman year of college. I had opinions about concepts – like gender politics – whose complexities I could barely grasp, informed only by my experiences with others of my age. It was my mission to piss people off. Specific people. Turns out, I really didn’t need to write anything in order to do so. Just being a little shit was more than enough. These days, I tend to be far more invested in issues of fiscal and military politics. As it stands now, my (admittedly still relatively uneducated) thoughts on gender politics are thus: everyone is at least 30% wrong about almost everything, and I include myself in that number.
“An open letter to Hasbro calling for the immediate discontinuation of the My Little Pony toy and cartoon franchise.”
“A list of my best ideas.”
This one just needed a little tweak. I guess people like self-deprecation more than they like self-congratulation. Go figure.