So, sometimes a funny idea pops into your head. That’s fine. It’s ok to laugh at it, maybe share it with whoever is closest, and simply move on. Less helpful is writing it down in a list of potential story ideas where it will mock you every time to scan past it, a testament to how you had no idea what to do with it beyond that one little chuckle.
Anyone who has ever shopped in a grocery store has seen store-brand products or generics. The boxes will evoke a certain major corporate branding without actually getting them sued. They will bear names with all the appeal of a tax form, or a knockoff name like someone put the original through a thesaurus. Products like FLAKES, Mountain Mist, or Pepsi (I kid, I kid…).
The idea is that you get roughly the same product at a lower price. It appeals to bargain shoppers and people trying specifically not to support brand-conscious shopping. Also, potentially, some people prefer this version of the product, but we’ll write those off as an outlier.
Thus, you can see the problem with Off-Brand Gods.
How about Broseidon, God of Fishing Trips that Mostly Consist of Drinking Beer in a Little Boat?
Or Thud, God of Hearing Your Upstairs Neighbor Drop Something?
And what about Rah, God of Cheerleading and Uncooked Meats?
These are jokes. At best, they’re one-off gags that might fill out a skit, not a novel. I’ve actually used one of these as a joke in a book, and that one-liner was about them mileage I expect you’d get from this concept.
The absolute BEST CASE I can think of for stretching this concept on a rack until it’s long enough to qualify as a satisfying novel would be some kind of Mystery Men concept, where these misfit gods have to step up their game and rule the heavens when the A-listers go missing.
Even then, good luck to whoever tries it.
Oh, and I’m sure astute long-time Email Insiders will notice that this is not the first time I’ve mentioned “turn it into Mystery Men” as the only way to make a “Scrapheap” plot work. Turns out, this college-era favorite movie of mine keeps resurfacing a go-to story concept I have to keep resisting. (I should try to remember to talk about it in a future “Movies” post…)
While this might not make a strong story concept, it certainly makes a potentially hilarious discussion. So head over to my Facebook page if you come up with any clever “off-brand gods” you want to share. Or just check out the ones others have shared.