- Someone calls technical support; wacky hijinx ensue.
- Someone calls technical support for a magical item.
- Someone calls technical support for a piece of advanced technology.
- The title of the story is 1-800-SOMETHING-CUTE.
- Scientist uses himself or herself as test subject.
- Evil unethical doctor performs medical experiments on unsuspecting patient.
- Office life turns out to be soul-deadening, literally or metaphorically.
- In the future, criminals are punished much more harshly than they are today.
- In the future, the punishment always fits the crime.
- The author is apparently unaware of the American constitutional amendment prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment, and so postulates that in the future, American punishment will be extra-cruel in some unusual way.
- White protagonist is given wise and mystical advice by Holy Simple Native Folk.
- Story is based in whole or part on a D&D game or world.
- A party of D&D characters (usually including a fighter, a magic-user, and a thief, one of whom is a half-elf and one a dwarf) enters a dungeon (or the wilderness, or a town, or a tavern) and fights monsters (usually including orcs).
- Story is the origin story of a D&D character, culminating in their hooking up with a party of adventurers.
- A group of real-world humans who like roleplaying find themselves transported to D&D world.
- An alien observes and comments on the peculiar habits of humans, for allegedly comic effect.
- The alien is fluent in English and completely familiar with various English idioms, but is completely unfamiliar with human biology and/or with such concepts as sex or violence and/or with certain specific extremely common English words (such as "cat").
- The alien takes everything literally.
- Instead of an alien, it's people in the future commenting on the ridiculous things (usually including internal combustion engines) that people used to use in the unenlightened past.
The horror list is here.
This via Alex Epstein, who has written a crackerjack supernatural horror flick that he and his producers were nice enough to ask me to be story editor on.
Story editor? On a movie? That was my response. Apparently it's a Canadian thing.
John: Hey, I'd love to work with you guys ...
Teza (producer): Great!
John: But to be honest, I have no idea what I'm supposed to do as story editor on a movie.
Teza: As a more experienced writer, you get together with the producers and screenwriter, talk about the movie, places it can be punched up, suggestions for character beats and plot pacing.
John: Oh, we have that in Los Angeles.
Teza: What's it called?
The roundtable/lunch is a common ritual in LA. The Thomas Crown sequel will owe no small debt to mystery writer and all 'round cool guy Greg Hurwitz and others, who helped me with some heisty ideas while we ate lunch at Il Campinile. In point of fact, the opening of the flick comes from criminally under-rated director Karyn Kusama, who casually -- I believe she had a mouthful of bread at the time -- reminded me of a quote from the first movie which neatly, beautifully tied up the entire theme of the first fifteen pages. The only appropriate response at that moment is a mix of hatred and gratitude only other writers can comprehend.
On the other hand, if socialized Canadian entertainment wants to pay me for such services, I say onward comrades!