The Next NYT Best Seller
Starla, the starving novelist, was staring into space when her brother came into the room.
“Whatcha writing now?” Sydney glanced over her shoulder and read from the computer screen. “The Snide Snoop Solves the Crime at the Country Fair. Catchy title…I guess.”
“This one will be a real hit. A runaway best seller.” Starla beamed in anticipation as she envisioned her name on the New York Times Bestselling Author list.
“Looks like you have a long way to go, if all you have written so far is Chapter One – Chapter Two – Chapter Three.”
“This is my outline – and I dare not write any more specifically than that. Nanowrimo doesn’t start until midnight tomorrow, so today I’m getting my outline down. Then when the clock chimes twelve tomorrow… Blast off!”
“So you have today to get all your ducks in a row and twist your plot creatively?”
“Of course not, silly! I’ve been working on this in my mind all week. I’ve created the persona for my main character. I’m calling her Agasta Brazen; she’ll be a sort of an anti-heroine, one who doesn’t suffer fools gladly.
“Agasta Brazen? I’m sure I’ve heard that name somewhere — or something like it.”
“Agasta has a pugnacious personality and makes truculent wise cracks to the people she meets. She’s the one who discovers the missing Be-Kind-To-Animals donation jar that normally sits at the entrance to the petting zoo. And being rather vain, of course she has to find the thief before anyone else does.”
“This is really sounding familiar — though not the petting zoo part. And that name definitely rings a bell…”
“Anyway, my protagonist will be unique, since I’m writing this story. But I’m thinking now that I need to give her a pal or a helper, someone laid-back to act as a ‘foil’, as writers say. Or maybe a pet?”
“And she has her pet in the petting zoo?”
“Hmm… Maybe I should change the petting zoo to a ‘Most Adorable Dog’ contest? Then Agasta can enter her dog in the contest. She should have a huge shaggy – but very clever – dog. One that loves everybody. The opposite nature to hers.”
“Oh. Like Oscar the Grouch teams up with Cookie Monster. That ought to work. Did on Sesame Street.”
“Oh, Syd. I love it. Yes, that’s brilliant! I’ll name him Snookie and give him an insatiable appetite for dog biscuits.” She flexed her fingers over the key board in anticipation. “Nano Novel, here we come!”
“I still think you might consider changing your character’s name – just in case. You wouldn’t want to spend December in court on charges of plagiary.
“You’ll be in trouble if you kidnap someone else’s character. Did you know the word plagiary actually means kidnapping? I happened to read it in the dictionary last week. Live and learn.”
“What if I call her Henriette Parrot then? She could maybe have a pet parrot that witnesses the theft and…”
“Well, I’ll leave you to it, Sis. Sounds like you still have a bit more plotting to do. I’m sure glad you have a computer to work on now. I remember what your desk looked like when you first started doing Nanowrimo.”