I've finally gotten my idea. I had a dream (which is where most of my story ideas come from. Mortuus Rex came from a dream) that fascinated me. It involved a mermaid, addressing Congress, demanding recognition as a sentient species, protection of "human" rights for all sentients, and demanding the cessation of unlawful experimentation on the males of her species in private corporate research.
And an idea was born.
I've been working on the idea in my head, and I've got a few points; I don't know how I'm going to get to that scene (for starters, I have no idea how in the world random Person gets to address Congress) but I know now that this mermaid will either escape from a corporate research facility, or break into one in an attempt to free her mate. I haven't decided which.
Mermaids will be very Amazonian; matriarchal society, warlike, and the purpose of my MC's trip to Capitol Hill will be to attempt to prevent war from breaking out. Before you start laughing about the idea of a primarily water-based race waging war on the US, think for a moment: what happens when your sea-traffic is disrupted? International trade would be affected, attacks on ports could be catastrophic for local economies, and widespread enough attacks would wreak havoc on the national economy. I could really have fun with it. In fact, just now I thought it would be awesome if I had her attempt to convince Congress to intervene fail initially, war to start (just so I can show just how much trouble a sea-bound race could cause) and they then decide to sit up and listen.
I've been researching on TV Tropes for ideas and tropes (warning, DO NOT click that link unless you're ready to wikiwalk... TV Tropes steals hours from my day on a regular basis) and I've decided a few things; I think my mermaids will be mammalian, which means no scales... which is kinda sucky, because my working title is Scales of Justice. Le sigh. I am accepting ideas for a new title, by the way. I'm thinking a more dolphin based mer-person.
I do know that I don't want the males to be strictly humanoid. Originally, I'd planned for them to be vaguely sea lion-ish, but given that I might want them to be dolphinoid, I might go with that. Or maybe the idea of a non-humanoid male might be a bit too squicky, so I might just go with traditional mermen.
I'm also playing around with the idea of the females having to go ashore to give birth in human form, which might solve the mermaid problem (TV Tropes warning). I think the primary setting will be Chesapeake Bay; the mermaid will be able to swim up the Potomac for the entrance into Washington DC. I think. I need to check my map for that.
I did have an incredibly generous artist from the NaNo Artisans forum make me a cover for my novel; it's really quite pretty. Simple, and I love the color. The Artisans have offered to make the staff covers, since we don't qualify for 30 Covers, 30 Days, so we miss out on the chance to get awesome covers made. They've really made some beautiful covers... be sure and check it out!