Looking for Plot in all the Wrong Places
Okay, so I spent three hours in the dentist's chair recently getting three lower back teeth ready for crowns. It was only supposed to be two but my dentist found a huge crack in the third one.
Anyway, I'm on FaceBook with my dentist and some of her very capable office staff, and I posted an update about how I was thinking about creating a character that looked like a few of them and torturing them with a dental drill. That led to a lively discussion involving a possible title.Death by Dentistry, Drill M for Murder, Nightmare on Route Canal, and Nitrous and Old Lace were a few that made the cut. It was fun for all of us until I realized on the weekend that the gum around the last tooth was probably infected. My first clue was that I cried every time I bit down on something.
So I called my dentist who was at a restaurant with her staff, and she phoned in an antibiotic RX for me. I'm sure my writing became a dinner table topic after that. Long story short, I had to go see her the following day and lo and behold, my sweet, girl-next-door dentist who looks more like she should be modeling swimsuits for Sports Illustrated than shoving both hands into my mouth, said she had a great idea for a book.
Okay, I have to admit a lot of people tell me stuff like that all the time when they find out I'm a writer. They think that Aunt Martha's first ride on the roller coaster is worthy of a four-hundred page book or that little Joey’s first bike ride without training wheels deserves national attention. So when she said she had a story for me, I thought yeah, yeah, and pretended to be interested.
It didn't take but a minute before I shot up out of that dental chair and said, "I know just where I'm gonna use this." I already had a vision of what my third book in the Clueless Cook Mystery Series would be about and her plot tied in beautifully. The more she talked, the more I expected her head to twist around or something. What happened to my sweet dentist?? Should I call her Sybil?
Her story involved some of the most gruesome sicko things I'd ever heard.
And I loved it! I couldn't wait to run it by my editor. Wrong idea! She loved the title but hated the plot. Said it was too gory for a cozy. Okay, maybe killing homeless people and burning their bodies is a mite gory, but Chicken Fried Corpse was a great title, I argued.
“Move on, Lipperman!” her unspoken words said.
The moral of this story is that even though I wasn’t able to use the idea…yet…we all need to keep an open mind when some enthusiastic friend, family member or even a perfect stranger approaches you with an idea. You never know when the next NY Times bestselling story will unfold before your very eyes! My first cozy plot, the one that got me a three book deal, came from a mystery jigsaw puzzle my friends and I put together on vacation.
So, look around you. Do some serious people watching and check out shows like Dateline and 20/20. I got the idea for Mortal Deception, which is coming out soon from Amazon, BTW. Of course, I added the sex and the killers to make it interesting.
Okay, it's time to hear your stories. What's the weirdest way a plot has ever come to you? As a reward for playing with me today, I’ll give one lucky commenter a free download of MD when it is available.
Ms. Lipperman, a PP gal, is happy to say her new book, Liver Let Die, comes out in October and Mortal Deception is coming soon!!