Writers Club
MR Writers Club Prompt: The Sliding-Doors Moment of the 2010s
11.29.19

Have you heard of the Man Repeller Writers Club? Every month we pose a story idea, you write about it and then send it to us (write@manrepeller.com) with the subject line “MR Writers Club.” We go through all submissions and post the winner at the end of the month. Ready? Let’s go.


I’ll always resent the acclaimed 1998 film Sliding Doors because the clever premise of the movie—that one inconsequential action could change the course of someone’s life—was also, by chance, the premise of the only good novel idea I’ve ever had. Years ago, I wanted to write a book or script wherein a character was conflicted about something, and then explore the two parallel realities that would result from each choice. When I was telling my friend Danny about it, he said: “That’s a good idea, but I think you just described the plot of Sliding Doors.” (I’ve never forgiven him.)

Anyway, when I finally saw the movie last year, I had to admit it was fun. Cheesy but fun, maybe because I’m a sucker for a plot twist. I’m also a sucker for imagining real-life sliding door moments, like: What if my parents had moved to Campbell instead of Mountain View, as they almost did before I was born? What would have happened had Leandra never seen my email to her in 2016? What if I’d never left my ex? It’s an entertaining (and occasionally revealing) exercise.

So, as we near the end of another decade and face an onslaught of pop culture roundups none of us asked for but will probably read anyway, why not apply some the same questions to the standout moments of the 2010s? Such as: What if Gaga had worn something else the night she wore her now-iconic meat dress? What if Kanye hadn’t interrupted Taylor’s acceptance speech? What if Cara Delevingne’s had plucked her eyebrows? For this month’s writers club prompt, we want you to pick a pop culture moment or phenomenon from the last decade and imagine its Sliding Doors-esque alternate reality, and send it to write@manrepeller.com in 500 words or less by December 18th. Be weird, get imaginative, blow our minds. I’ll be over here fine-tuning my next novel idea, which hopefully no one will tell me resembles The Butterfly Effect.

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