My friend Weldon and I are having a fine time bouncing about ideas for my mystery--we do this by email. One night at dinner with Weldon and his wife, Elizabeth, I mentioned the novel and sketched some ideas I had. I have to back up here--Elizabeth was a work-study student in my office I don't know how many years ago, a "nontraditional" student, which means she was a bit older than the average student. When she applied for the job, she introduced herself as Elizabeth, and Elizabeth she has remained in my mind all these years, even though the entire rest of the world calls her Beth. She has gone on to a great career (in publishing, although not my kind of publishing) and a lot of civic involvement--I'm very proud to think I had any influence on her at all. We've remained friends over the years since her graduation and I meet them for dinner every so often.
I got to know Weldon when Elizabeth began dating him. I've always known he is very very knowledgeable about collectible comic books and fantasy and a whole world I don't udnerstand, but I thought of Elizabeth as the writer who understood my world--as an undergraduate one year she walked away with about half of the creative writing awards. But I had no idea how Weldon would take to the mystery plot. As Elizabeth said to me in an email, "He thinks logically, and he really understands story-telling." Boy, does he. He gives me ideas, possibilities that kick my mind into high gear. Sometimes my reaction is "Oh, that's a great idea," and other times, it's "No, it's not going to happen that way." But that prods me into thinking how it is going to happen, and in explaining it to Weldon, I work it out in my own mind. Sometimes it's like I'm his amanuensis, except that the novel really is mine--he just contributes. And because he makes me think, I'm amazed at the richness of ideas that come to me.
A big bonus: Weldon has made me believe that the novel might really come to pass.
Another bonus: I've gotten Elizabeth to blogging, which may get her back to writing, which her busy life hasn't left much time for.