Adopt A Story Part?

I came across a section in the Nanowrimo forums titled Adoption Society. Under this category were many adoptable story parts. It’s meant to help writers who need some inspiration or ideas. It had everything from Adopt An Opening Line to Adopt An Antagonist. There were threads for plots, setting, creatures, back story, dying words, magic systems, titles, names, characteristics, etc.

What I’m wondering is would you find them helpful? There are several different ways to see this:

  • Are these threads simply prompts or would you feel like you’re stealing an idea?
  • Can they inspire or would it be restricting?
  • If you wrote a great story using one would you be thankful or feel guilty?
  • Would you prefer the entries to be detailed or vague?

For me it depends. If the adoptable part isn’t very detailed than it’s exactly like looking up writing prompts. If it’s very detailed then not only is it just somebody’s rejected idea but it would restrict me too much to work with. I’m the type of person who doesn’t like prompts requiring you use specific words and I see the elaborate ones the same way.

I definitely think reading these concepts can inspire new ideas. It’s the same as coming up with story parts based on something you’re watching or reading. Some don’t do a thing for me. One of the threads is: Adopt A Character. One person posted a name, gender and age. I can do that myself. Another listed name, gender, ethnicity, detailed description, personality, and background. That’s a bit much, practically the entire story handed to you. I want to make my own characters not take up someone else’s abandoned ones.

Some of these story ideas are funny. For example: The hairpocalypse started when Cyrus Riley choked on his own beard. It goes on to say mustaches have subjugated all human hair follicles and the world is about to have one BAD hair day. I’m not going to write this story but someone should!

Plots are probably the most likely to spur new ideas for me, assuming they aren’t too precise. Maybe an adoptable first line could get me started, as long as I don’t feel compelled to actually keep the line, only the thoughts it provokes. As I’m scrolling through I’ll ignore the long ones and scan quickly, maybe something will catch my eye. What do you all think?


If you want to see for yourself, click here: Adoption Society. If you decide to check out the forum I recommend setting a timer. There are so many threads one could get lost in the reading! Also every year the forums get purged some time in October so if you want to see it, do it soon.

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11 comments

  1. Reblogged this on AngieTrafford and commented:
    I like the idea of this in principle, but some of the things that they ask you to adopt are incredibly detailed… To me, it would just feel like I was writing somebody else’s story and that would feel wrong. The idea of adopting a first line is something like that is enough to get the creative juices flowing. A character is something that I would never be able to adopt, or give away, because I spend a lot of time building up that character and I know everything about them. However, it is in each to their own kind of idea.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I just reblogged this at creaticabardling.wordpress.com/2015/08/31/adopt-a-story-part/

    I would feel like I were stealing the idea, and quite frankly I don’t have the need to use other people’s work. A question, yes I would use. A general idea, perhaps, but a developed idea, no.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think it’s a great idea as long as credit is given, it’s like a prompt that they offered you. Some of my best ideas come from prompts. I’m glad you shared this.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m of two minds on it. On the one hand, it is a quick way to get some inspiration on a slow day. On the other hand, if I did get a story out of it, the little voice in the back of my head would constantly remind me that it’s not really *my* story, as I had to borrow ideas from somewhere else.

    I suppose it could work as a writing exercise. If you can’t think of anything, adopt a story part to get your creative juices flowing, and use that as a springboard to come up with your own story and characters.

    For example, the hairpocalypse synopsis gets me thinking about humorous and absurd story ideas. While I might not write that exact story, I do know that I want to write something funny, so I can go from there.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Fascinating post, Kristi. Like many here, I would probably shy away from the detailed concepts. I have, however, participated in things like The First Line calls for submissions (which they do quarterly) or theme-based submissions. I guess if the character weren’t too precise, I could give it a go. It’s nice, in my mind, to have some sort of boundary, direction, motif, or theme at least part of the time (even if it’s only genre conventions or vague enough, such as a concept like “romance after the apocalypse”), then I build something around it. For myself, however, to adopt too much would not be appealing to me; for better or worse, my writing, while I’m sure it tips the stylistics cap from time to time to my writing heroes, is wholly my own creation. The closest I would get to outright emulation these days would probably be parody or satire (both for humourous effect).

    Liked by 1 person

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