Sometimes, the most brilliant ideas come from pairing concepts that seem to be totally unrelated. The best example I know is Firefly, Joss Whedon’s short-lived TV series that sparked a fierce and widespread fandom. The idea of a space western sounded ridiculous — but it worked, and was nothing short of amazing.

To give another, somewhat simpler example, consider the League of Black Ribboners from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels. This organization is made up of vampires who have taken a pledge not to drink blood: basically, a vampire version of Alcoholics Anonymous. (They have meetings where they sing rousing songs and drink cocoa.) Pratchett explores this idea with wonderfully comedic results in a subplot of his novel The Truth and also uses it as a background society detail in several of his other books.

This week, I encourage you to think beyond the norm and pair unusual ideas to create something totally unique.

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