Friday, August 14, 2009

Check Please

If the Playfriends are together, no matter what we're doing, the conversation usually involves books. The ones we're writing, the ones we're reading, the ones that are giving us fits... it blends seamlessly through the rest of the conversation that might touch on kids, husbands, jobs, and of course, goats (and gerbils, now).

We plot a lot. Sometimes we get together and do it deliberately. Other times it pops up in the discussion when one of us runs into an issue. This was my weekend to have an issue. In the edits of my book, I realized I needed another subplot, another shady character to threaten and confuse. For the life of me, I had nothing. I was tossing around a couple things, but nothing clicked. Within three minutes of us talking, I had it nailed. It clicked. I love that.

It went something like this:

"I need another bad guy."
"Like a bad guy, bad guy?"
"No, just a kinda bad guy who isn't the bad guy, but could be."
"Who's the real bad guy again?"
"The good guy."
"Oh yeah. Does he have to be a vampire?"
"No. I'd really rather it be a human."
"What about a drug dealer?"
"I actually do have a drug dealer in the book."
"I like the drug dealer idea. That could work for you."
"Yeah, but he has to be a big time dealer. Not the streetcorner guy."
"Ok, I can do that. What does he want?"
"He wants what the hero has."
"Ooohhh... he could be blackmailing him."
"Yes, he turned him down, but then he found out about the heroine and is threatening to turn them in."
"That's good. Whew. Finally. Hand me a biscuit."

Now, that conversation made perfect sense to me, but I'm sure the people sitting in the booth behind us at the restaurant where it took place were probably confused. Especially when the underground "drugs for blood" topic came up.

Sitting by "civilians" while plotting is always dangerous. At any one time, we could be discussing how to kill someone, the legal implications of a marriage of convenience, whether its lye or lime that's used to disintegrate a corpse, a variety of sexual positions or situations, or how one accidentally gets married. Its not uncommon to hear one of us say "What about a dead baby?" or "I didn't know you could do that with buttercream icing." We've gotten more than one weird looks from waiters that approach the table just as one of us says "But is it really infidelity if she slept with the other guy while she was possessed by a demon?"

Suffice to say, we always try to be seated away from the general population, but sometimes it just doesn't work out. What about you? Have you ever overheard a disturbing conversation and wondered who, exactly, you were sitting near? Ever frightened your waiter or gotten strange looks from people around you?



Playground Monitor said...

Gosh I hate I missed that "bad guy" session just so I could go to the beach another couple times.

I personally haven't been on the receiving end of weird looks, but I remember some women telling about brainstorming a murder plot in a hotel restaurant during RWA conference and having one of the men in the booth behind them give them the hairy eyeball and mention he was an FBI agent.

I also read about a multi-published author whose home was raided and her writing materials confiscated because of the research she was doing.

We need a cone of silence.

Problem Child said...

We don't have to be talking about plots and book issues in order to receive strange looks from people.

(And you've been there PM when we've gotten those looks. The people must be standing behind you...)

At least your bad guy got to stay a drug dealer... he could be a peach farmer now :-)

Angel said...

That's so funny! Especially because it is so true! You never know where the conversation will lead and sometimes I realize I haven't been as quiet as I should while discussing a certain subject. And it isn't just us. You should have seen me trying to discuss erotic romance with my sister yesterday in a crowded mediterranean restaurant. Yikes!


Playground Monitor said...

Yeah, they must have been behind me or I was focused on the grits.

Liza said...

My friends and I aren't writers and I'm pretty sure we have gotten looks from people around us before. I would love to be in the booth next to a bunch of writers plotting a book. Sounds like fun to me.