For 10 years now I’ve been carrying around in my out-sized head a book idea that I think is a surefire blockbuster. But I’m booked book-wise for the foreseeable future.
So finally I am now officially giving away this book idea. It’s your lucky day! Maybe. Or whatever.
Here’s the idea: A trade paperback needs to be about 150 pages, right? So my idea is that this book is entitled, And That’s When I Got Struck by Lightning.
On every page of the book is a different first-person story—a real story, from a real person, told in their voice, that you collected off the internet. Each story is about 300 words long. Short. Tight. Self-contained.
So each page has at its top center nothing but, like, “Lois D., 35, Smalltown, Iowa,” or, “Ralph S., 49, Stockton, California.” And then you drop a couple lines, and that person’s story begins.
And here’s the kicker: each of those different stories ends with the exact same sentence: “And that’s when I got struck by lightning.”
You set up a little website—a free WordPress or Blogger site would totally work—at www.struckbylightningbook.com, which as of right now is available for registering. (Oh, sure, I could have snagged it myself for $10 and then sold it to you—but I didn’t.) Then you put the web-call out for anyone who has ever been hit by lightning to go to that site, and leave their story of what happened to them on the day they got hit by lightning.
You wait until you get 150 of those stories. You then edit each one so it’s the right length, and has basically the same tone and pace. And, of course, you make sure that each one concludes with “… . And that’s when I got struck by lightning.”
So it’d be, like, “On June 23, 1987, my wife Adele and I were going to take our two children to see their grandmother for her birthday. We had a long drive ahead of us, and so I was out in the driveway early that day, packing all the stuff we were taking with us on the trip. I saw that our garbage cans from the night before were still out near the street curb, so I went to take them back behind the fence where we keep them. I rolled one of the cans behind the gate, and then went to get the other. On my way across the yard I bent down to pick up a basketball that my son had left there. And that’s when I got struck by lightning.”
Or, “My friend Bob and I were playing golf. It had been awhile since Bob and I had been able to spend any quality time together, so we were having a great time. He hit a ball into the rough on the eight hole, and I walked over with him to find it. Finally, amongst the reeds and grass, we found his ball. I figured that while he was setting up his shot, I’d go back to where I’d left my bag, to see if I’d remembered to bring my spare golf glove, since the one I was wearing had developed a tear in its thumb. I was walking back to my bag, when I heard Bob say, “I am going to make this shot. I know it!” I turned around to watch him make the shot. And that’s when I got struck by lightning.”
It is my personal opinion that when you first start reading these, they’d be basically unbelievable. Then they’d start to be pretty funny. Then they’d start to be pretty hilarious. Then they’d start to be rib-snappingly funny.
Right around the 30th such story, I’m thinking they’re so funny you have put the book down. I know I would. I’d die laughing.
There. All you have to do is register the website, throw a site up, collect the stories, edit them up. And. You. Are. Bestseller. Gold.
Don’t say I never did anything for you.
[Update: I did, just now, register www.struckbylighningbook.com. I was afraid if I didn't someone else would, just to be all ... gougy with it. Lemme know if you want to buy it from me.]