Here's a story you've never heard before. Stay with me though because it starts like every story you've ever heard.
Wait. Maybe I shouldn't set you up with such high expectations. Isn't there only like seven plots in the entire world? Something like that. Boy meets girl. Boy loses girl. Boy finds her again. That's three right there. So what are the other four? One of them's gotta be The Lord of The Rings, so that's pretty much taken. That leaves three plots for the rest of us. Whatever, it doesn't matter, because this story right here? The one you're reading? This story ain't about boys and girls. Nah, it's about space aliens.
For real! Look, if I said right away that it was about space aliens then those of you who turn their noses up at that sort of thing would have been out. And if I started it with "beautiful descriptive prose to establish setting" like my creative writing prof teaches, well, that would bore the rest of you, even me. I had to hook you in. All great stories need a hook, that's what my creative writing prof says. Although when I pointed out that establishing setting beautifully and hooking a reader in seemed kind of mutually exclusive she pulled me aside and suggested that I might better enjoy some of the other adult learning courses offered at Metro Outreach Community College, such as Woodworking for Beginners.
But who needs a creative writing course to learn how to write good stories? Especially when they're true, like this one is. Yup. So that was my hook. This here story is the best story you're ever going to read. Well, maybe that's going too far. I don't want to disappoint you. Why don't I let you be the judge? Also, if you think it's awesome can you email my creative writing teacher and tell her? I'd love to see her face when she reads those emails!
Ok. Here it is. You ready? The aliens are here already! Always have been! Yes, I know that's exactly like 800 other science fiction stories you've read, it's probably even one of the seven plots. But these aliens are. really. here. Right now in real life. Not fiction. I'll show you.
They're memes! You know what memes are right? I don't mean grumpy birds and angry cats. I mean the transmissible ideas that spread within a culture (thanks Wikipedia!). Like brain viruses. Only not actual brain viruses like encephalitis. Ideas. They replicate. They mutate. They can even die.
So. What do you think the very first idea ever was? Something like this: "If I bash these two rocks together I'll get a better, sharper rock." And where do you think that idea came from? Space. Rocks up in space been bashing together smashing things up for billions of years. That was a meme. Through some sort of memetic transmission (think fiber optics but without fibers. Or optics) that idea invaded our brains and has been replicating and mutating ever since. See? We don't have souls. Our souls are merely alien memes living within us, biding their time. Until what? Until they can spread out to more star systems in the universe. It's already started. The moon. Mars.
Soon. Very soon. They are patient.
But all that is just setup. Background info! Because without conflict you don't have a story. That’s the Grand Unifying Theory of Story. Before you even get to your seven basic plots.
Now comes the conflict. Now comes the story. It's about how one man, one brave man, set forth to escape from the memes and free his enslaved planet.
I met a girl once. She was perfect. But I messed it up. This is the story of how I got her back...
- Nathan Waddell