Friday, September 13, 2013

It's Friday the 13th and we're full of bad ideas

Writers have lots of ideas. We wake up in the middle of the night to scribble a plot twist on a notepad or write down an incredible character name on the back of a receipt in line at the post office. Some of these ideas are fantastic, like, say, invisible crime-fighting girls or dystopian societies based on death matches.

Some are not so good.

In fact, they're bad.

Okay, they're terrible. Really, really terrible.

Today we're pitching our very worst story ideas to you. Some of us actually started to write the things you're about to read before realizing what we were doing was a horrible idea . Don't judge us. (Well, actually, do judge us, but we'll get to that later.)

First up is Natalie Whipple,

Sixteen-year-old Lily Martel can't live without her earphones and endless hours of music, because when she's not listening to songs all she can hear is the whispering of plants around her. Her worst nightmare comes true when her mother sends her away from New York to live on her father's Napa Valley vineyard for the summer, where she is so surrounded by plants she's sure she'll go nuts listening to all their chatter she can't reply to. But as she settles in, she realizes there's another voice on the air who can talk to the foliage and her as well. Not only that, the plants seem to know things that could put her father's vineyard at risk. Can Lily figure out who the mysterious voice is AND save her dad's business without looking insane? Only the plants can tell.

Shannon Messenger
16-year-old Grace despises Hollywood almost as much as she hates waiting on celebrities at her mom's LA Hot Spot restaurant. So when the cute guys of Mach 5--the latest global boy band sensation--take a seat at one of her tables, she's as unimpressed by their flirting as she is by their cheesy songs. But group heartthrob Ryan can't stop thinking about the first girl who's ever turned him down, and romantic serenades and swoony stunts quickly become a part of Grace's life. So do the paparazzi, whose aggressive tactics force Grace into hiding at Ryan's family home in nowheresville, USA. Ryan seems embarrassed by his humble roots, but Grace prefers this other side of him--more than she'd like to admit. But can she really separate the boy from the fame? Or is she destined to be the story behind Ryan's next tragic love song?

Alexandra Duncan

When fifteen-year-old Kitty Katz's parents die in a horrifying jet-ski accident while vacationing in Jamaica, stranding her alone on the island, she thinks life can't get any worse. That is, until she's kidnapped by pirates. But with a little spunk and her grandfather's key-tar (it's an electric keyboard AND a guitar!), she soon has the pirates singing a different tune. Who knew the pirates were also orphans with a lifelong dream of forming a rock band? Join Kitty and her sea-faring ruffians - including a sexy boy pirate, of course! - as they stop boarding ships and start conquering the waves - the AIRwaves, that is!

Megan Shepherd
When all the bees in Middleburg disappear, the townspeople don't know what to do! Without bees, they can't enjoy honey or jam with their morning toast. Mr. Appleby, the kindly old apple farmer, explains the science of pollinators and colony collapse disorder to the town mayor, who doesn't like honey or jam anyway, so he basically tells him to stuff it. Then the stakes are raised when the other pollinators disappear: flies, bats, and hummingbirds! (direct quote: "bless their tiny wings.") Luckily, with Mr. Appleby's guidance and rambling environmentalist monologues, the townsfolk convince the mayor to plant a bunch of dandelions and the bees come back. They all eat toast and jam! 

J.R. Johansson
When Sophie's archaeologist parents force the family to spend the summer on a dig in Egypt, the last thing she thinks they'll come home with is an ancient disease that makes them faster, fiercer, and slowly depletes their bodies while giving them a monster-sized craving for brains. When the disease starts spreading to other areas of the country, Sophie's family must find out who is spreading it and stop them while striving against the clock to find a cure. When it comes to zombies, the family that slays together, stays together. 

Renee Collins
Ten year old Amelia dreams of traveling the world. Just a girl and her camera, taking pictures for the National Geographic. But that dream is shaken one morning when she wakes up to stunning news: the Eiffel Tower is missing. Gone. Vanished without a trace. Then, the next week, it's the Great Wall of China. The Pyramids! The Washington Monument! Scientists scramble, but no one can understand where these wonders of the Earth have gone. Amelia is determined to figure it out. With the help of her friend Corban, a fervent alien-believer and UFO expert, they'll follow the clues that lead to a truth even harder to believe. Someone collecting these monuments as souvenirs. Someone from another planet. And if Amelia tries to stop him, she'll have a full scale global invasion on her hands. Is her dream worth fighting for, even if it means world war?
Now comes the judgment. In the comments below, tell us who you think had the worst idea. Everyone who votes will be entered in a drawing to win a copy of one of our books from the writer with the winning (or is it losing?) pitch.

ETA: We have a winner!
Cait, send an e-mail containing your shipping address to and we'll send you an ARC of Salvage, by Alexandra Duncan.


  1. I've got to with Alexandra Duncan's singing orphaned pirates, 'cause that one made me laugh out loud.

    1. Exactly. I appreciate these ladies sharing their truly truly terrible ideas with us but Alexandra Duncan's has the added element of sounding like she wrote it while half asleep/awake.

  2. I'm behind Megan Shepard's pollinator chronicles. Having grown up in a national park with rabid conversationalists I can actually picture it.

  3. Aliens and zombies and boy bands - oh my! I applaud you ladies for being brave enough to share these! I've had some pretty awful story ideas myself, so I know how something can seem initially brilliant but later you wonder what you imagination was smoking when it gave you such an horrific idea.

    I'd have to say Megan Shepherd's is the worst (it sounds a bit dull to me - sorry Megan, you know I <3 you!!!), but Alexandra Duncan's takes a VERY close (and very hilarious) second. ;)

  4. LOL I just love these. When can we read the finished books? ;)

  5. Oh my...I have to go with Alexandra Duncan's Kitty Katz and her singing pirates. Kudos to being brave enough to admit to these. :D

  6. The singing pirates is pretty awful, but the zombie/mummy disease and the talking plants have to come in second. I suppose I'd go pirates, plants, mummies as the worst, second worst, and third worst. The rest weren't good by any means, but they were less groan inducing.

    Nice job- did you guys find pictures of things and then have to come up with a story idea based upon the picture?


    1. No, sadly, these were our actual ideas and Alexa found/made the pics to go with them. ;)

    2. That bee is one of my proudest Microsoft Paint moments. And I got really lucky on my image search for "keytar."

  7. Is it totally weird that I kinda liked Shannon Messenger's?

    But honestly, it's gotta be the pirates. The Keytar did it I think:)

  8. Shannon Messenger's and Alexandra Duncan's are both pretty bad.

  9. this. We're ridiculous and that's okay. EMBRACE IT, LADIES! :-)

  10. I think I've read Shannon's—or was that my tween fantasy? I'm giving Alexandra the prize for worst idea simply for this line: "Join Kitty and her sea-faring ruffians - including a sexy boy pirate, of course! - as they stop boarding ships and start conquering the waves - the AIRwaves, that is!" AIRwaves, not to be confused with ARRRRwaves.

  11. I have to go with Megan Shepherd for the win, or is it lose? Although, I can see some potential in it as a picture book!

  12. I have to go with Megan Shepherd for the win, or is it lose? Although, I can see some potential in it as a picture book!

  13. This made me bust out laughing..." the family that slays together, stays together." Yup. Also Natalie Whipple's made me laugh a lot. "only the plants can tell...." Ohhh.

    Okay, but my vote for the worst, is probably: Alexandra Duncan's. (Sorry!) XD