We went to wine country a few weeks back and ended up spending most of our evenings in a magical highway-side town with more five-star restaurants per capita than any other place on earth (stats not verified). With stroller in tow, we meandered through the French Laundry gardens, twisted our arms in a tasting room, strolled through (and not past) a renowned French bakery, watched the Italian grandfathers roll bocce, and used the loo at a posh resort and spa.
Great, but who cares? Well it reminded me a little bit of Mendocino, which reminded me a little bit of every single murder mystery ever written.
Through my former addiction to how-to-write books (I’ve been off the narrative craft sauce for nearly a year now), I have learned that characters must have dreams and desires that motivate them to make decisions to bring about permanent change. Therein lays the problem with a town like this: why would anyone who lived there want to change a thing?
Insert intervening event that rocks a character out of his or her comfortable Michelin-starred life. Whatever that event might be, let’s say murder that is also a mystery, the character will then have a wild ride trying to return life to the way it used to be.
Again, great but who cares? Well sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. I was there. I lived that life, albeit for a weekend. Unfortunately, I too had an intervening event. No, not murder. Not mystery. It was much more mundane than that. My intervening event was Monday. Well, I can tell you I am motivated to get back to life as it used to be, Michelin-starred. It just may take a few more Fridays to get there (and I’m not sure the ride will be all that wild, sometimes life is also duller than fiction).