Guest Post by Chandler Mc Grew
LOL. It happens to me all the time. The first time I hemmed and hawed trying to come up with some easy way to let the guy off the hook, but over the years I’ve found that the sharpest knife cuts the cleanest. I explain that authors have no shortage of stories, what we lack is the time to write all of them since that is the real work. I decided one day to see how many thriller plotlines I could come up with in an hour just to demonstrate. When I reached twenty in thirty minutes I stopped the exercise.
People who don’t write (and I’ve discovered that a lot of these people with ‘perfect stories’ don’t read, either) think it’s the plot that’s worth all the time and potentially money. But people who really study plot will tell you that just about any plot in the world can be narrowed down to three or less, and they almost all have to do with a character in some sort of trouble. Often these ‘free’ plots don’t even have that. My favorite is the memoir. The person wants me to basically take down their life story (or their father’s or their grandmother’s) then “You know, just spice it up a little.”
If you can’t find the time to spice up your grandmother’s story why should I waste my time doing it? I have a grandmother of my own. She had three uncles killed in the line of duty as sheriffs and Texas Rangers and rode to hangings on the shoulder of another sheriff uncle. If I haven’t found the time to ‘spice her up’ you can bet I’m not going to do so for your ancestors. If you have a few minutes to spare you can actually write down the basis of the story and show them why no one will read it no matter if Dean Koontz wrote it, but it will most likely be an exercise in futility. Trust me. They won’t believe you and might even think you have just stolen their plot for a new bestseller. They’ll be watching. If any good comes of this it might be that you have a new buyer for your books and a person will begin to read.