Thursday, May 30, 2013

I Wish…

by Alan

What existing book do you wish you could have written?

Besides The Cat in the Hat? (And yes, I use every opportunity I can to slide a picture of me and my idol into the blog.)meandthecat

Although many (most?) of the books I like are character-driven stories, when I thought about this question, the books I wished I’d written all had a common element.

A Big Idea. A Great Hook. A High Concept. An Amazing Premise. A Grab-Me-By-The-Shirt-And-Don’t-Let-Go Situation. I don’t remember plots; I remember premises.

I couldn’t pick a single book, so I’ve compiled a short list:

Two Agatha Christie classics made the cut: And Then There Were None and Murder on the Orient Express. Both use clever devices, which, many years later, have become classic mystery plots (and have been repurposed on numerous occasions).

Firestarter – Stephen King has no shortage of great ideas, and this was one I wished I’d hatched.

The Lock Artist – Cool idea, great main character, and, oh yeah, it won an Edgar.

Ender’s Game – Set in the future, a whip-smart kid must save humanity, without succumbing to peer pressure. In a word, awesome!

And if I had to select just one book I wish I’d written, that book would be:

Fifty Shades of

Jurassic Park


Jurassic Park - Theme park! Sabotage! Tropical island! Kids in danger! And dinosaurs! (mean dinosaurs!) And sequels! And a movie! And movie sequels!


Chris said...

JURASSIC PARK is a fantastic choice. It seems like Crichton's a tad unfashionable these days, perhaps because he got a little crotchety in his later books, but man, could he write a beautiful high concept thriller. I've always admired how he wrote about whatever he felt like, and his fans (among which I count myself) were more than happy to follow.

Alan Orloff said...

Chris, I totally agree--he wrote some great high concept thrillers. The characters weren't always fleshed out and the prose wasn't outstanding, but he had some terrific ideas. (Although I couldn't finish NEXT.)

Chris said...

Nor I, Alan, but I try not to let that -- or his latter-day proselytizing -- take away from the sheer roller-coaster joy of his best stuff. (His pulp output was pretty good, too; Hard Case has released some under his then-pen-name, John Lange.)