It’s Sunday evening. Husband polishes off last slice of fudge cake. Laptop battery dies after a hard day toiling away on the current WIP.
Me: [inspired by the previous afternoon’s Columbo movie (the one where Dr Sloan from Diagnosis Murder has a shocking Captain Birdseye beard)] Can you help me with some plot issues?
Husband: [eyes fill with dread at the thought of another forty thousand word manuscript] Do I have to read something?
Me: No. I just want to throw some ideas around.
Husband: [fearful] Are you going to get upset again?
Me: [eyes drift off, recalling the anguish last time I asked husband to read first chapter of WIP and he failed to laugh at the obvious hilarious comedy opening and the raging argument that followed where I suggested he may be dead on the inside] Promise.
Husband scoots over on sofa.
Me: So whilst I’ve been writing today I’ve had these two great characters in mind. Rather than force them in to the current manuscript I thought they should have their own book. I think they’d make a good pair in a mystery or detective plot but I’m not sure.
Husband: I know a great detective mystery book.
Me: It’s not The Da Vinci code, is it?
Husband: [smiles nostalgically, fondly remembering the only fiction book he’s read since GCSE English] It’s a brilliant book!
Me: OK, but I’m looking for an original plot idea.
Silence. Husband and I deep in thought.
Husband: Have you thought about a plot involving code?
Me: [rolls eyes] What, like The Da Vinci Code?
Husband: Oh right. Yeah.
Me: I think I like the idea of building a friendship. I think it should be integral to the story.
Husband: That sounds good. Maybe an unlikely friendship?
Me: [excited] Yes! I like that!
Husband: Like an unlikely bond between a university professor and police cryptographer?
Me: The Da Vinci Code again? Seriously?
Husband looks defeated.
Me: [feels bad and speaks encouragingly] I do really like the idea of a mystery to solve. I think these characters would work well in that sort of genre.
Husband: [looks excited] Wait! This just came to me. How about two characters find a body and there’s a cryptic message and it all links back to a conspiracy theory within an institution that’s been around for hundreds of years.
Me: Isn’t that the plot of The Da Vinci code?
Husband: Oh yeah.
Me: Hey, thanks for your help.
Husband: [looks pleased] That was quick. Did I really help?
Me: Are you heading to the kitchen to put the kettle on?
Husband: [stands up] If you want.
Me: You’ve helped.