A Commen Theme in My Story Ideas

So, I’m trying to decide which stories I should be writing, and I’ve seen some interesting themes that recur between each.

The first one — and one I’ve started rewriting from scratch multiple times — is a deep-future sci-fi about a man taken prisoner on an alien spaceship. After some terrible torture, he escapes into the bowels of their ship, and is torn between committing suicide to prevent that torture from ever happening again, or going on living in the hopes of finding rescue, and perhaps rescuing his fellow-prisoners.

Second, paused at about 45,000 words, is a modern-day sci-fi about a man who has very vivid dreams of a different life. So vivid, in fact, that he can’t tell which is his real life and which is the dream.  In one existence, he’s powerfully depressed and alone; in the other he has a girlfriend, family, and successful career. He embarks on reconciling the two worlds, while escaping the dangers present in each one.

Third, a short story, is a near-future sci-fi about a woman who awakes to discover that she has no senses except for those that a computer feeds her; she’s told that after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, she volunteered for a terrifying experiment which keeps her brain alive, connected to a powerful computer. As she finds herself hostage to the experiment, and to powerful levels of pain-inducing feedback, she has to decide whether to end her frightening new life, or to go on towards an uncertain future.

Whew! Little dark! Are we seeing a bit of my bipolar experience coming through here? Methinks so. The connection between mind and body is a theme in each, and the courage (or other motivation) it takes to keep going. But I have happy endings in mind, really! Well, I actually could end two of them with not-happy endings, but… I don’t like not-happy endings. I can admire them, and sometimes they are far more fitting than the happy ones we get, but I hope that I could make happy endings for the stories that DO fit.

Some of my writing is targeted at a Crichton-y style, though some is more Stephen King-ish. By "style", of course, I mean "economic success".  How cool would it be to make up stuff for a living, eh?

The problem I’m facing now is that I don’t know what I should be writing. None of them are poking at me anymore, begging to be written. I think I need a nice manic swing to get back into the groove of writing.

Oh, I didn’t mention the deep-future sci-fi teleplay about the clone who is trying to rescue his original in exchange for his life-rights, and the modern-day teleplay about surviving a zombie apocalypse.

For somebody who did improv & sketch comedy over the course of 15 years (in over 1000 shows, I’ve estimated), I sure don’t infuse my writing with much humor. There are exceptions, but the stuff I’ve pursued more consistently is always serious. The only big exception would be my blogging and Twittering, which I generally try to make funny, at least on some level. I just farted.

Probably My Favorite Memory

     I recalled this memory tonight as I was trying to sleep, and laughed. I need to get it in writing in case I get hit by a bus tomorrow, and my brother Bill never shares it of his own accord.
     When I was 15 or so, we had two brooms: one for inside, and one for the trampoline, outside. Leaves would fall year round in Florida, as trees get confused as to whether or not it’s Fall, so the trampoline broom just stayed outside because of its frequent usage. However, as I recall, this broom got so weathered that we eventually had to throw it away, leaving us with just the kitchen broom. We kept our broom beside the fridge, as per federal regulations, and would fetch it when the tramp needed sweeping.
     Late one night — let’s say midnight — I glanced through the glass doors before heading to bed, and noticed the kitchen broom had not been replaced; it was lying on the porch outside by the trampoline. In an unusual moment of fastidiousness, I opened the sliding door, went out, and closed it behind me while I went to get the broom.
     (Why close it? Well, we had two cats that were not allowed outside — ever — and it had become an ingrained habit; you step outside, you close the door, even if it’s for two seconds. We were pretty paranoid about the cats getting out and catching Typhoid.)
     I grabbed the broom, and went back in the house (again opening the sliding door, going through, and closing it). It was during this second opening that Bill woke up — he was Billy back then, age 12 or so — and was rather frightened to hear someone coming into our home in the middle of the night.
     I returned the broom to its position in the kitchen, then walked back towards my bedroom, which is just past Bill’s. His door was open at night, as was mine, so we could see the nightlight in the hall. (By "nightlight" I mean "hall light" — I don’t know how we slept with a light that bright on, but apparently the dark was fearsome enough that we couldn’t sleep without it.)
     So I’m on my way to my bedroom, almost past Bill’s door, when he jumps into his doorway in a Karate stance and yells "Hi-YA!"
     That was funny. What was funnier, though, was that Bill didn’t really believe somebody had come in. He was pretty sure it was his imagination, but he was going to play it safe, and use his stellar acting skills to frighten off any possible intruder. That’s why, when he saw me there in the mostly-dark, he was mortified. There was a distinct moment before he recognized me as his brother that all he saw was his fears made real: there really was an intruder in the house. It was during that moment that he screamed and fell backwards.
     You really need to imagine the whole scene from my perspective to truly appreciate it. Walking towards my bedroom in the still of night; my little brother jumps out in a fake Karate pose and yells "Hi-YA–", but it’s cut short by his scream; his unconvincing stance disappears as he stumbles backwards in terror at seeing me. All out of the blue, all in about a second.
     I wish you could have been there. (Because then we really could have scared him.)