(I’m not so sure how I feel about these, but it’s a starting point.)
- Greek Gods Workplace Drama: (This is a terrible, no good, way-too-cheesy idea, but…) I’m imagining something along the lines of the workplace mockumentary of The Office or Parks and Rec, but with the fraught relationships and responsibilities of the Greek (or Roman) pantheon. I have a fairly general sense of the Greco-Roman gods and their roles, so I wouldn’t be going into this blind.
I’m not sure exactly how one writes in the style of Parks and Rec, but I do think it could be done. By offsetting character’s commentary typographically from the “action,” possibly in a two-column format, I think a similar effect could be achieved. It could even be styled as “comments” on the main text by the characters, though that starts to look more like social media than I’d like it to. (Has anyone else noticed that satisfying stories, even those written today, almost universally do not include cell phones, social media, or the social internet?)
A seemingly helpful summary on their familiar relationships can be found here.
- Origin Stories of the Moon/Constellations/Planets: A young, rather dogmatic, and recently educated physicist or engineer is hired by an astronomy lab (or telescope, imagine Arecibo). They make some pretentious comments/display a great deal of unjustified and dogmatic certainty, and a (possibly strange and quirky) senior scientist decides to tell a bunch of fantastic and mythic stories about the cosmos to disabuse the youngin’ of their hubris.
Possible sources include (from the UnTextbook): The Folklore of Laos (origin of lightning), a Jataka tale about the disappearance of the moon, a Laos folktake on the origin of the moon, Filipino Popular Tales (why the sun is brighter than the moon), a Bengali folktale about Saturn, and so on.
- Animals Tell Their Own Stories: In a similar vein, a field biologist, frustrated, idly wonders out loud to an animal where it came from. To their great surprise, the animal gets up and tells the story in perfect human speech (sourced from someone or other’s myths). Another option is that the biologist has a series of surreal dreams…
Possible sources: Filipino Popular Tales (why the mosquito hums), etc.
- Height: David, Goliath, and other Tall and Short Friends and Foes: I find something entertaining in the idea of various short and large mythical and traditional figures commiserating about the hardships of being 4’1″ or 9’2″. Possibly coming in pairs, if I could find enough pairings, otherwise just the contrast and some kind of frame story about who has it harder.
Possible sources: the story of David and Goliath (see heading “David and the Giant”).