Alright, so here's an idea I had on a plane coming back from spring break, and have managed to work it into a fully-plotted novel, kind of satire-humor-fantasy-philosophy. I'm gonna bounce a brief(-ish...sort of...not really) summary off of you and see what you think or if you have any suggestions. Please at least skim over the general gist, and reply! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ On a medieval-ish planet with the horribly boring name of World (Ring a bell?), where flawed monarchies rule and reality is subjective (Where the belief of the populace actually alters reality, as to an objective reality, where facts are...well, factual.), a very young boy's family is forced to evacuate from their home in the capital of Trom because the king, who is going mad and paranoid, and believes he is a god, has ordered his large army to completely lock down the town to stop any villagers assassinating him. However, in the chaos, the innocent, often silent boy loses his only friend: His teddy bear (Which is just a teddy bear, not some magical animal. Blech). So the moment his family gets to their new location, he leaves again to walk right back to his city (Troyal City) even though it's miles away, just so he can get his teddy bear back. (His parents don't notice because his father has a sadly harsh form of Alzheimers, and his mother's life is "too full" for the boy to exist, so she just ignores him. That's why he's just called "the boy"- his dad can't remember his name, and his mom doesn't care.) Along the way he meets Val, a retired Valkyrie who has forgotten how to ride a horse but still retains her no-nonsense attitude, and Yossarian, who- and this is very important-everyone remembers even if they haven't met him. It's like when you see someone on the street who you knew ten years ago. Except "you" is everyone, and it doesn't matter if they did know him, they instantly remember him. (It makes sense in the story, trust me.) After Yossarian is fired from his job as a bartender and he barely escapes from a sort of medieval mafia, he finds out the boy has hitched along, and Val catches up with them too. Since he has nothing better to do, Yossarian decides to join them to Troyal City. But their coach is crashed when they almost run into a 13-year-old girll- Lissel, who grew up in the back of a storyhouse and believes existence is founded on fairytales. Everywhere she goes, she tries to "make the stories happen", but doesn't often get happy endings (Which is why they almost ran over her- she was running away from some boars she was trying to make act like the 3 little pigs). She tells the others that she most go to Troyal City to "become a princess", and they find that, whether they like it or not, she is coming with them. Soon they come to Bullock, a sort of version of 18th-19th century plantation villages, where the entire economy is based on mining a valuable (Unnamed as of now) stone. Much of the hard, cruel labor is given to the Roccies, red-skinned foreigners that the citizens of Trom tend to look down on. For generations, the Bullockers have been learning that it's right to abuse the Roccies, who face horrible conditions every day. While Rudy, a blind but hip Roccie (*koffkoffStevie/Raykoff*), guides Yossarian and Val through the corrupt government and goings-ons of Bullock, and lands them a room at an inn for the night, the kids (Lissel and the boy) stir up a spark in the local schoolhouse when they suggest that maybe slavery is wrong. It gets worse that night when the kids free some slaves from their cages, but get caught. Soon all four of them are being chased by the police and their hounds (Werewolves, who gripe about their low pay), and Rudy guides them to a closed mine that leads out of the town. They escape, but are trapped underground, and must walk miles till the next exit. After walking and talking for a while, they come across a giant forest-palace-thing. There they find Etcetera, the God Of Everything Else. While World has many gods for many mundane, specific reasons, there are some things even the lowest gods won’t bother with, and these are all handed to Etcetera. Also, occasionally when a god dies and no one can find an heir, Etcetera takes on the job for a short period. Being so low on the godly scale means he has a very dark, cynical outtake on life. Etcetera was banished from the House of Gods for the offense of “Being A Right Pain In The Arse, Sulking Around The House All The Time Like That.” He has been working his way back from the edge of the world (World is square, after all) to the House of Gods. He decides, on a whim, to join the traveling group (Being the God Of Rudely Forcing Yourself Upon An Awkward Social Situation) and agrees to lead them to the exit to the north. They stop after a while of walking and talking to rest, and in the dark, the boy gets scared of monsters. His power of belief, so untainted by the world, is remarkably strong, and they (The monsters) begin to appear, forcing the others to fight them off. Yossarian and Val, realizing the boy’s reality-altering talent, start a fight on whether they should frighten him or comfort him to save them all. The boy grows confused, and reality starts falling apart, until Rudy intervenes. A roaring river and a raft appears, and the group quickly jumps on and sets sail. They come out into the open and sleep for a while, but are attacked by sirens, who try to drag them into the river, and then pirates, who kidnap Lissel and throw the others over a waterfall. While Lissel goes through a day in the company of the "new generation" of pirates (Who are quite nice once you get to know them, really they are), the others find themselves waking up on the shore of a village populated with eccentric minstrels, who are all experimenting with new sounds (Allowing for a quick skewer of rock, rap, jazz, classical, pop, broadway, etc.) and as they meet everyone, the group argues about whether and how they should go about getting Lissel back. They make a deal with some “hard rock” minstrels to bust into the pirate’s lair that night, but in the evening, they are all lulled to sleep by a lullaby, and wake to find they have been put in a prison cell. They escape, and walking down a hall coated in tapestry, they discover the truth about the village: It was built over a gigantic spider-beast that creates an incredibly valuable resource (The one mined by Bullockers), but that is deadly when restless, hungry, or generally alive. The minstrels use their music to sooth it, and the hard rockers are shunned because their constant banging may upset the beast. The pirates usually capture women and rich people to rape and steal from before sacrificing to the beast, sending the “unwanteds” over the waterfall to the minstrels, who lure them to the beast. Eventually, after much running from guards and capturings and goings-ons, they are almost eaten by the spider-beast, but accidentally wind up vanquishing the monster, who in dying creates enough of the valuable resource to last the minstrels a lifetime. In thanks, the minstrels and pirates gladly agree to smuggle the group out past the "old generation" of pirates (Who aren't quite so nice), as long as they also take a companion with them- Skazz, a jumpy young trumpet player who's style everyone else absolutely hates. However, the group is intercepted by the king's Troyal Army, who has been bearing down on criminals. They are all brought to one of the Troyal Army's "moving fortresses" (Giant military bases that walk on clockwork legs across the countryside). Yossarian is thrown in a jail cell, but quickly (and purely by accident) grows in the ranks of bureacracy, becoming the Grand High Lord of Whatever within a few hours, guided all the while by Samme, who is a girl posing as a man so she can fight, because "the boys are doing a bloody stupid job of it." Lissel and the boy are thrown in an arms factory, where children are forced to work day-in day-out (reference to turn-of-1900s labor laws), and while Lissel is messing up her bows and arrows but accidentally creating weapons centuries ahead of the time period (guns, missiles), the boy innocently states that it shouldn't be like this, and winds up accidentally starting a revolution amongst the children against the adults. Rudy and Skazz are drafted and put into Company Z, where Skazz gets bored and starts playing his trumpet, causing a ruckus among the company (Parody of Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy- it works when it's all written down, trust me.) and accidentally stumbling upon scat. Val and Etcetera, being mythical figures, are thrown in the WMD testing room (Weapons of Mythological Destruction), where supernatural entities are cruelly tested for defense capabilities. Soon the fortress comes across a battleground, and everyone finds themselves on the war field. Lissel secretly keeps a gun. Yossarian, who is in the company of the other heads of the army, is horrified by their lifeless reactions to the deaths of the "lower soldiers," and steals a horse, running off to find his companions. Val sees her valkyrie co-workers flying off and realizes something extremely bad is about to happen- and indeed it does. An evil spirit has escaped from the WMD room, and has possessed Skazz's trumpet, causing a sonic blast that deafens everyone, stops the fighting, and obliterates the landscape. The group reunites, but is torn apart again: Val and Lissel hitch a ride with a Valkyrie on a wolf. Yossarian, Rudy, Skazz, and Etcetera steal horses and ride off. And the boy is left alone, eventually picked up by a caravan of scavenging gypsies. As Val and Lissel ride first with the valkyrie (Who is really a transvestite- parody of the "dahling" stereotype), and then with a dragon, the four riders find themselves "lending" their horses to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, who are in a hurry to reach Troyal City. Meanwhile, the boy (for reasons too long to explain in this already plodding summary) finds out that his body has picked up three days' worth of time from the magical gypsies, which means that he'll take just one day to get to Troyal City, but it'll be three days for him. (A series of highly unlikely events happen to him as a goes, including finding a hidden civilization of amazon warriors, being adopted by a Robin-Hood-esque gang, travelling through the underworld, etc. In the underworld, he meets his father, who died recently. The boy grabs his father and brings him up to the real world again, and they find they have reached Troyal City.) Meanwhile, the others in the group all reach Troyal City at the same time- just at nightfall- and reunite, trading stories and wondering where the boy is. When a guard tells them the city is in lockdown, he lets slip that it is partly because the king has found a princess who he is going to marry and make a queen. This is enough to snap Lissel's already unstable mind, shattering her belief in fairy tales, and she pulls the gun she smuggled out, shooting the guard and then running off to the castle. While Yossarian and Etcetera run after her to stop her, the others tend to the wounded guard. Yossarian and Etcetera are too late- Lissel breaks her way into the castle, shooting all who try to stop her, and then runs to the king's room, where she shoots him too. (In a bizarrely happy contrast, the boy makes his way to his old house and finds what this whole story was started on- his teddy bear. Then he and his father are caught and thrown in a jail.) While Yossarian and Lissel are arrested (And Yossarian is reunited with the boy, having been thrown in the same cell as him), Etcetera escapes clean, Val brings the guard to the hospital, and Rudy and Skazz stumble off to a bar to get blind drunk. The next morning is a somber mood as Lissel and Yossarian are brought on trial, and Val and Etcetera sit in the audience (Along with everyone else the variosu members of the group have encounted on their journey, due to another long reason not explained here) watching the trial. (With the boy attached firmly to Yossarian's leg, having fallen asleep hugging him.) A commotion is caused when Val sees the boy and runs up to grab him, and the crowd stands up cheering. IN the ruckus, Skazz and Rudy, both totally drunk from a night of barrooming, stumble into the courthouse and ask Etcetera- if the king believed he was the god of Trom, and belief makes things real on this planet, and the king is now dead, and Etcetera is the god of things no one else is taking- than that means Etcetera is currently the God of Trom. Various things happen from there, various wrongs are righted, and tiny other problems occur but are quickly dealt with, the essential gist of it all being that the group, who have now realized they have no one else to go home to and might as well stay with each other, become the leaders of Trom, the king is brought back to life, then sentenced to an eternity's worth of taking over Etcetera's old job (Etcetera gets to keep being the God of Trom), and Lissel is cured of her madness. Oh, and of course, the boy gets back his teddy bear. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ There's some details I left out. If you actually read more than half of that, I'm amazed- good for you. Please respond with questions, comments, suggestions, etc.