The Next Chapter

Adam Brady on having fun with CanLit tropes

The programmer explains his online CanLit Premise Generator: why he created it and how it works.
Need a story idea? Adam Brady's online CanLit Premise Generator will set you up with some classic Canadian tropes. (

The CanLit Premise Generator is an online tool that pulls tropes (some might say stereotypes) from the CanLit canon and combines them to create plots that sound oddly viable. Just click a button, and a randomly generated plotline will appear — for example: "Three undergraduates from diverse backgrounds transform into a moose in 1897, but also, one of them is a robot." The tool was created by Adam Brady, a web development student. He chatted with Shelagh Rogers to explain what he's done.

When people think of Canadian literature, they think of a certain set of things. They think of a lot of geography — a lot of questions of place figure prominently in a lot of classic Canadian literature. So the more we dealt with that, the more, even randomly, the plots resembled them. Since then it's expanded — we've gotten a lot of great input from users of the website, and we've been adding new things almost every day. 

I have a deep and abiding love for Canadian literature, and I definitely think something like this can come from a place of love. Being aware of tropes is not the same as criticising them. It's more just for fun — it plays with what people think of when they think of CanLit, more than CanLit itself. 

Can you tell the difference between an actual Canadian novel and a premise generated by Adam's website? Take the quiz to find out.

Adam Brady's comments have been edited and condensed.