It seems it’s polite in a pandemic to take a virtual holiday, so I’m taking a day trip to the US, guesting on Anne R. Allen’s blog, with a seasonal return to Mr McGuffin’s Plot Device and Writer Unblocking Emporium.
In which Mr McGuffin gets visits from three partly frustrating and wholly impossible visitors, in the best tradition of the season. Excerpt follows below with the full piece available here.
Blog bless us, Everyone!
It’s Christmas Eve in Mr. McGuffin’s Plot Device and Writer Unblocking Emporium, and the end of a very busy season indeed. Writers queued outside the shop for weeks to avail of Mr McGuffin’s festive offer of a discounted shock plot twist with a free happy ending.
Proprietor MR McGUFFIN is serving his last customer of the day when the door bursts open. He looks up in surprise from the magical realism remote control he is wrapping for a nervous-looking writer with an imminent deadline.
A ridiculously handsome man marches up to the counter and folds his arms. He is wearing black tuxedo trousers and bow tie, no shirt, and a fireman’s helmet. It is ROMANTIC HERO, and he’s not happy.
ROMANTIC HERO: A word, McGuffin.
MR MCGUFFIN: I’m sorry, I don’t think I know you, Mr—?
ROMANTIC HERO: You know damn well who I am, McGuffin. I’m Romantic Hero. You sold sixteen of me last week.
MR MCGUFFIN: Now that you say it, you do look familiar.
ROMANTIC HERO: Familiar, he says. The cheek! He’s the reason I’m in this mess, and he says I’m familiar!
MR MCGUFFIN: Sorry? What have I done?
Romantic Hero notices the nervous-looking writer for the first time, and smiles at her. She faints.
MR MCGUFFIN: Now look here, you can’t do that to my good customers!
ROMANTIC HERO: Look at me! Look at what I’m wearing! Not to mention the fact that it’s the middle of winter, and I’m bloody freezing with no shirt on!
MR MCGUFFIN: But what’s that got to do with me?
ROMANTIC HERO: You’ve been selling the same thing for years to every writer who came into this shop looking for a romantic male lead. That was bad enough, but now it’s worse, with you expecting me to be all the clichés at the same time. Last week you sold me as a firefighter and a billionaire playboy with deep family trauma and a vaguely aristocratic lineage, all at once!
MR McGUFFIN: Oh, dear. Don’t know what happened there. I wouldn’t usually sell them together.
ROMANTIC HERO: But that’s not the half of it. Why do I have to be so two-dimensional? Where’s my character arc? My depth, my motive for falling in love? I’m sick of having all my issues pinned on my difficult relationship with my mother–slash–father, for starters!
MR McGUFFIN: Well, you can’t deny that it works, Mr – er – Hero. Difficult relationships with one’s parents have been the driving force of 88.7% of both romantic and crime fiction plots since 1967.
Romantic Hero sulks
ROMANTIC HERO: Doesn’t make it right.
MR McGUFFIN: I myself had a very difficult relationship with my father which almost resulted in me taking up taxidermy, rather than fictional retailing….
Full piece available here. Thanks to Anne R. Allen for having me this week. Oh, and… happy Christmas to you all!!