Plotting with the husband

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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.

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