So, I don't know how many of you are familiar with the Codex Alera series (it's awesome, think Avatar the last airbender meats HBO's Rome) but I really am enjoying the books. What interested me in particular recently is the story of how the whole thing began. According to Jim Butcher, the author, it started with a bet.
The bet was actually centered around writing craft discussions being held on the then-new Del Rey Online Writers' Workshop, I believe. The issue at hand was central story concepts. One side of the argument claimed that a good enough central premise would make a great book, even if you were a lousy writer. The other side contended that the central concept was far less important than the execution of the story, and that the most overused central concept in the world could have life breathed into by a skilled writer.
It raged back and forth in an ALL CAPITAL LETTERS FLAMEWAR between a bunch of unpublished writers, and finally some guy told Butcher to put his money where his mouth was, by letting someone give him a cheesy central story concept, which he would then use in an original novel.
Butcher wrote to the guy saying, "Why don't you give me TWO terrible ideas for a story, and I'll use them BOTH."
The core ideas given were Lost Roman Legion and Pokémon… Thus was Alera formed.
After reading the first 3 books of the series and enjoying them immensely, I am really amazed how such a rich and interesting world got its start from two such disparate concepts. This got me thinking, that even if it results in nothing more than another round of my world-building-that-goes-nowhere, I would really like to try out this process for myself.
So I ask you, my gracious followers, if you can, come up with some ideas to throw at me, to challenge me with.
Try to pair two ideas up, don't make them too specific (like say, pairing two established characters together) and try to make them as an odd couple as you can (Pokémon and lost Romans don't really seem to fit together, but he made it work!)
I appreciate any effort you put into this, and if something really inspires me (caution though, there is no telling what will inspire me, so please don't be offended if I don't use your suggestion) I promise I will share the fruits of my inspiration for your viewing/reading pleasure.
(I tried doing this myself, but I spend too much time in my own head right now nothing really seems to leap out at me.)