182. Books I Want to Write

I have many ideas for books and stories rattling around in my head. Sadly, most of these won’t ever be written. I’ve been stuck on one manuscript for a long, long time. I’ll frankly be satisfied to finish The Eliot Papers and never write a book again.

All the same, my mind is cluttered with ideas for more books. I’ve decided to share some of the best. Who knows? When Lance Eliot’s journey is donewhenever the heck that may beI may begin a new adventure.

Here, then, are some books I want to write.


Several centuries in the future, as the world begins to recover from a nuclear war, a student named Adam is informed by his friends (all of whom wear white coats for some reason) that he is actually a chimera: an organism engineered with genetic material from two separate species. Adam happens to be a chimpanzee with human intelligenceor as one of his white-coated friends cheerfully puts it, “A crime against God.”

Since the experiments that produced Adam are highly illegal, he is also a crime against the now-authoritarian government of the United States of America. When the Humanitarian National Service sends agents (nicknamed Huns) to eliminate Adam, he escapes and becomes a fugitive. Adam decides to flee to Alaska. Along the way he keeps a diary, which he began as an assignment from his white-coated educators and continues as a distraction from the hardships of his life.

The League of Young Detectives

Gabriel Green is an ordinary kid in Indiana, the most ordinary place in the world. Upon entering seventh grade, he makes two extraordinary friends: Nathan Quist, a reserved exchange student from Britain, and Samuel “Samurai” Reyes, a geeky Ecuadorian-American immigrant.

As the school year progresses, Gabriel and his friends uncover hints of a sinister conspiracy involving strange acts of vandalism, an honorable thief, a retired FBI agent, a local murder and a dark organization known only as The Week. These three young detectives must overcome the skepticism of grownups, the awkwardness of adolescence and the very real dangers of crime-solving to find the truth and bring justice to their little Indiana town.

The Oakwood Home for Special Gentlemen

The Oakwood Home for Special Gentlemen is a group home for men with mental and physical disabilities. Twelve incidents occur over the course of one year: some comic, some tragic.

In one incident, a depressed worker frustrated with her life abducts a residenta mild gentleman with an obsessive-compulsive desire to visit Californiaand take him on a trip across the country to fulfill his dream. In another incident, a worker conspires with a resident to terrify the home’s superstitious manager as a Halloween prank. Every incident, whether funny or sad, is unique and unexpected.

Samuel White

I’ve mentioned that I love changing perspectives when telling a storySamuel White would be an avant-garde novel telling the life story of its eponymous protagonist in the form of thirty brief vignettes from the lives of thirty different people. The twist? Samuel White himself would never make an appearance. Like dear old Godot from the play by Beckett, Samuel White’s entire life would defined by the incidental remarks of other people.

Professional Wanderers

Daniel Grey is a wandering vagabond, working odd jobs and never stopping in one place for more than a couple of days. His brief but memorable stay in a small Indiana town draws the attention of an out-of-work journalist, who decides to accompany Grey for a few months to gather material for a book. As they travel, the journalist becomes increasingly puzzled by his companion. Grey, an unshaven vagrant who carries all his worldly possessions a rusty wheelbarrow, has an impossible knowledge of geography, history and literature.

The mystery deepens as Grey runs into “a very, very old friend.” This man, who wears a silver albatross on a chain around his neck, warns Grey that “the man with the mark” has begun a campaign of murder. Grey resolves to track down the man with the mark, and his journalist companion follows in search of answers.

Portraits in Stained Glass

When a man’s car breaks down at night, he grabs a flashlight and climbs a nearby hill to find the building at its summit is not a house, as he had hoped, but an empty chapel with enormous stained glass windows. The man examines each window in turn. Each provides a retelling of a short story (often an obscure one) from the Bible. At last the sun rises, setting the stained glass ablaze, and the traveler leaves the chapel a better man.

Is there a book you want to write? Is there a book you’re writing? Let us know in the comments!

8 thoughts on “182. Books I Want to Write

    • Corn Again

      Russel Blue is a recovering alcoholic working for an aging corn farmer in northern Indiana. When the farmer dies, he unexpectedly leaves his entire estate to Russel. Russel must grapple with the deeper questions of life and learn what it takes to be a man, all while managing a corn farm and making a living selling corn and corn-related memorabilia. Along the way, he meets a mysterious tractor-driver with a peg-leg, known only as “The Hoosier”.

      • Your comment is frankly an excellent parody of my ideas for books I want to write. I’m not sure whether to be irritated or impressed, and I’m tempted to punish you with a lame joke about your “corny idea.”

  1. I like them all, but I really want to read Professional Wanderers. (: Hope you get around to writing it one day. (I just got hold of a collection of Father Brown stories… wow, they are fantastic. Thanks for the pointer in that direction!)

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