Story Idea Contest

One annoying thing that writers hear all the time: “You should write a story about ___!”

Most often the ideas that come my way don’t interest me very much. People pitch ideas they think would be good for a book, but I can’t imagine sustaining an idea through all the blood, sweat, and tears it takes to complete a full-length novel if I’m not totally psyched by said idea.

Strangely, in the last week I’ve gotten some good ideas from family members that I’d be interested in pursuing (in short story format rather
than as a novel). One involves zombies, baseball, and the never-ending Cubs curse, and the other was inspired by the sewage that recently flooded our basement. I’m keeping both of these on the back-burner for when I need a short story idea.

So that got me thinking… maybe I should find out what kinds of stories the readers out there would like to see.

Here’s what I want from you: pitch me your idea (for a short story, not a novel please) in a comment below. You can be as vague or detailed as you like, but the more specific you are, the closer I can get to your premise. Then I might see if I can rig up a poll or something for you to vote on your favorite idea… and if everyone votes for their own, then I’ll just pick my favorite or something. Yeah, I’m half-assing this a little.

But however we pick the winner, that person will get to see their idea fleshed out into an actual story. I will write it based off the pitch and publish it right here on Pandora’s Pen for all to see. You will get your very own story written by me, dedicated to you, and inspired by your ideas. And if you want more people to read the story that you helped to create, go ahead and direct them on over here!

I will be away for one whole week after making this post, so you won’t hear a peep out of me until maybe next Wednesday… but that gives you plenty of time to brainstorm for the contest. So be sure to get your ideas in by August 3!

Sound fun? Then I suggest you start thinking. Ready… Set…. GO!

Categories: Thoughts


  1. I want a story about a male student in love with his female calculus instructor (teacher or professor–depending on the age you wanna write for) in a wildly unclean and over-populated city. Perhaps living in the city is even toxic or hazardous to your health. (I’m talking like… you can see the grime on shit kinda filthy).

  2. Well, you have already cited mine…. yay for scary sewage and dead bodies and heartbreaking moments and toxic waste and biohazard zones! Thats the best I could come up with…. glad to have inspired you for this post.

  3. I am not going to offer an idea but more of a challenge. Summer is going by fast and as hard as it may be to believe fall will be here quick. So my challenge is for you to come up with your best ode to all hallows eve. I want a story filled with the smell of candles in pumpkins, old paper skeletons hanging from leafless trees dancing in the breeze, an orange sun and soft yellow dusk and the ominous dark that slowly follows.

  4. A physicist/geologist/mathematician accidentally proves the existence of Hell, but he can’t get anyone to believe him–not his colleagues, not religious leaders, not even his family. Eventually he realizes that he’s inadvertently created his own personal Hell on earth.

    I have more ideas/thoughts about how the story could proceed, and I’d be glad to share them if you choose this pitch. But I’ll leave it at that for now.

  5. You need to go with something on the cubs curse and zombies which was discussed at our house……

  6. Sorry I never got around to submitting my story idea, maybe you could include it if you ever have another contest. This is more SF than Horror but here it is anyway.

    For about the last 30 years computers have been doubling in power about every 18 months to 2 years. Already computers can beat humans in chess and jeopardy. If this doubling were to continue for another 30 years or 300 years computers would be unimaginably powerful. (2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64….)

    Now for the story.

    Title would be something like “Emily Is God”.

    In a remote part of the world archaelogists discover an extremely well preserved dinosaur. In order to anayse it in great detail they develop a new extremely powerful microscope and discover deep within the DNA of the dinosaur a series of numbers

    They use this same microscope to analyse human DNA and find a series of numbers

    Of course there is lots of religious discussion about what this could mean, especially among those that think the world is 6,000 years old and that dinosaurs never existed.

    Story would end by cutting to a futuristic looking bedroom and a teenage girl that doesn’t quite look human.

    A voice from downstairs calls… Emily, dinner is almost ready. The girl replies I will be there in a minute. She then proceeds to open up a box of computer software and puts a disc in her computer.

    Cover of the box shows very alien looking creatures and at the bottom it says Version 3.0. On her desk are two other boxes. One has a picture of dinosaurs and Version 1.0, other has a picture of humans and Version 2.0.

    She presses Play and then the other characters in the story get all pixelated and fade out.

    Perhaps our universe is a gigantic computer simulation, we are all sims, and God is a teenage girl named Emily.

    This would be a good Twilight Zone episode.

    • This is a really awesome idea. I would have loved to include it in the final list that made the voting round. Maybe I’ll do another contest again sometime, and let it go on for longer so everyone has a chance to participate.

      Anyway, this really reminds me of a story called “ProMem” by Niall McMahon. In it, a scientist working on a memory-enhancing drug stumbles upon the remarkable truth of our existence. You can actually read it online here:

  7. Hey you can use my dreams as stories
    1) i once had a dream where i was trapped at school because zombies took over
    2) my parents were actually zombies and my “adobted” parents gave them permission to knock me out then turn me zombie
    3) it was all apocoliptical and i was walking in a grocery store parking lot with a 2×4 and some guy started stealing my organs so i smacked him in the face with the 2×4
    not sure why i have so many zombie dreams…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: