My freshling year at Cornell College, I took my English requirement in the Spring. Sitting in South Hall, trying to type a report on a PC with a three-color monochrome screen (orange type, white type, green type), staring out the window at the warm weather, I started the following to keep from going crazy. The original draft had 78 choices for Girl, and 68 for Boy. I added more, ending with 108 Girls and 95 Boys.
Later, when I transferred to the University of Nebraska at Omaha, I turned this list into a french-door binding for an art class on non-adhesive bindings. The professor, Bonnie O'Connell, then invited me to adapt this into a fifteen-by-fifteen print for an invitational portfolio. I spent Spring Break typesetting the text, fueled with Double Stuff Oreos and Mountain Dew.
The Big Idea: Start with the basic plot. Select one possibility from each, and use that to write a story.
Plot: Boy meets Girl. Boy falls in love with Girl.
engaged/promised to another boy.
a figment of Boy's imagination.
using Boy to get revenge on her parents.
a different religion than Boy.
possessed by Cthulu.
suffering from an Electra complex.
from the wrong family/social class/gang/species.
all of the above.
really a boy.
Boy's long lost sister.
J. Fred Muggs in drag.
a leader of a small European monarchy.
an alien humanoid from another planet.
a mafia princess.
an IRS agent.
an agent for the KGB.
a porn film star.
an advertising copyrighter.
a private detective.
a time traveller trying to prevent the future from happening.
a psychologist studying acute sexual deficiencies in human males.
a right-wing, flag-waving, God-Bless-Amurika Christian.
a swimsuit model.
a television producer.
a writer of Gothic romances.
an editor for the National Enquirer.
a foreign spy.
an insurance salesman.
a militant feminist.
a manic depressive.
a contributing editor for People Magazine.
a drug kingpin.
an actress looking for her big break.
a donut dolly during the World War Two.
Catherine the Great.
an undercover police officer.
an animated cartoon.
a comic strip character.
an Olympian immortal.
Boy's evil twin.
an Army drill sergeant.
a telephone sanitizer.
a foreign exchange student.
a junk bond broker.
a spokesperson for "No Excuses" jeans.
kidnapped by gangsters.
a blood-sucking alien looking for a host.
a gold digger.
a KGB agent who was using Boy, but who has since fallen in love with Boy.
an orphan who was raised by black widow spiders.
is Elvis in cognito.
kills himself and Girl.
kills Girl and serves her to parents as main course.
kills Girl's family.
kills Girl's boyfriend.
keeps Girl captive in basement.
marries another girl to escape from Girl.
dumps Girl for European model.
sells Girl into slavery.
turns Girl over to the authorities.
abandons Girl in the Amazon rain forest.
leaves Girl waiting at the altar.
enlists Girl in the United States Marine Corps.
marries Girl's sister.
marries Girl's mother.
seduces Girl's brother.
enters a monastery.
enters an insane asylum.
joins the Merchant Marines.
joins the Peace Corps.
joins the French Foreign Legion.
changes his identity to escape from Girl.
changes his gender to escape from Girl.
defects to Albania.
participates in questionable genetic experiments.
escapes to the Amazon, and is never heard from again.
turns himself over to the authorities.
is cryogenically frozen to escape Girl.
flees to deserted island in the South Pacific.
volunteers for missionary work in New Guinea.
writes bestselling novel about his experiences with Girl.
assassinates the President of the United States to show his love for Girl.
appears on late afternoon talk shows.
overthrows a small African dictatorship.
wins a Nobel prize.
writes best selling love song about Girl.
dies from sheer boredom.
becomes a chronic alcoholic.
withdraws into himself.
fails blood test.
dies from shock.
is never heard from again.
sells soul to the devil.
builds a luxurious palace for Girl.
has torrid love affair with Girl's mother.
leaves wife for Girl.
dies from battle wounds.
elopes with Girl.
has deep meaningful relationship with Girl.
kills Girl's brother.
creates a popular television sitcom about Girl.
loves Girl anyway.
forsakes family heritage to marry Girl.
undergoes operation to be equal to Girl.
dies in Girl's arms.
writes Doctoral thesis about Girl.
volunteers to fly the Army's experimental fighter, is lost somewhere over the Caribbean.
kills Girl's rabbit, makes rabbit stew.
gains infinite wisdom, realizes that Earth is illogical, and destroys it.
marries Girl, has 2.3 children, makes $25,063 a year, and dies an average death.
asks Girl to prom.
ridicules Girl in front of entire student body.
writes, directs, and produces TV Movie of the Week about Girl.
performs questionable genetic experiments on Girl.
joins police force to find girl.
dumps Girl for Girl's brother.
reveals that he, too, is what Girl is.
remembers previous appointment, leaves Girl.
wins lottery, enters life of decadence.
elopes with Girl's moose.
accidentally kills Girl's brother.
reveals secret identity to Girl.
writes bawdy limerick about Girl.
goes AWOL to elope with Girl.
wins six Olympic Gold medals, becomes immensely wealthy, and forgets about Girl.
joins leper colony to escape from Girl.
is exiled from society for associating with Girl.
invents time machine to escape from Girl.
invents faster-than-light travel to escape from Girl.
changes gender to fulfill Girl's sexual needs.