“Real maple syrup.”
“Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about. Not sugar, but maple syrup.” If we were cool we’d do a knuckle bump. Instead we attempt a high-five and mostly miss the mark. We’re not sure where we would fit maple syrup into the story, but what’s not to love about sucrose?
“I know, right? Okay, your turn.” My co-author and I are having an imaginary discussion about surefire topics to tug at readers’ heartstrings. We’d finished our first novel and were quickly running out of agents to query, so perhaps it was time to move on, we’d agreed. We want to stumble upon something the reader can relate to but with a slight twist. That je ne sais quoi which will catch an agent’s eye. And we are no longer particularly sane, or even very particular.
“And don’t go with puppies or pet euthanasia; Nobody should do abuse/angst/heartbreak/unmovable obstacles.”
“Ouch. It’s like you read my mind. Although literary types probably get turned on by brick walls,” Lisa suggests.
“Symbolic brick walls tagged with graffiti.”
“Symbolic brick walls tagged with indecipherable graffiti that collapse on abused children. And puppies.”
“You couldn’t resist playing the puppy card, could you?”
“Nope. That’s how I roll.”
“So it is my friend, so it is.”
We sip our diet colas, nodding bobble head style.
“Hot dang,” she says, “I’ve got it.”
“Lay it on me.”
“We need a gimmick, no? So we market ourselves and our book as though it was already accepted, beloved by our public, demanded by our readers – we call it a noble quest…”
I can tell she is on a roll. I don’t interrupt; I liken it to the rule about not waking sleepwalkers because it might cause them to become criminally insane or expire from a heart attack or something. Don’t look at me like that, you know your mother told you the same thing.
“…call it a challenge, a contest. No, that’s not right. We have to play it like it’s already a done deal. It’s more like…” she snapped her fingers trying to come up with the exact right words. “We have the product, right? Our book is available. The only thing that is stopping the public from their God-given right to pursue entertainment happiness is our lack of a publisher. See what I’m saying?”
“Sorta,” I lie.
“No really, it’s brilliant.” She’s getting wide-eyed in a manic true-believer sort of way. “It’s all about confidence, chutzpah. Cojones. We can pull it off. We just have to pretend we’re wackos, but mostly harmless wackos. With a mission. A cause.”
“We’d be pretending?”
“I know, right? That’s the beauty of the plan.”
“So you’re calling this a plan. Are you sure it’s not just an excuse to get out of coming up with new story ideas?”
“Could be,” Lisa admits. “But that’s beside the point. All we have to do is be believable. Make magic. Be funny. Sparkle.”
“I am thinking your plan lacks specifics, details.”
I emit a suitably skeptical noise, “Hrumph.”
“Wait, I know! We pull a Tinkerbell. We ask our audience to believe – believe in us or else we die!”
“Do it, people! Do it now! I’m too young to die!”
“Aren’t you the one always complaining how old you are?”
“Whose side are you on?”
“Oh yeah. Cheer for us, clap for us, hurry, our reading light is going dim!”
“Better yet, book us a gig on Oprah.”
“Oprah’s old hat. Book us a gig on the Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson.”
“Oh yeah, he’s hot.”
“True, but not the main point here. Stay on track!”
Do it, people. Do it for suffering puppies everywhere. Do it for suffering writers trapped in the tall brick walls of their imagination. Take our message of hope and forward it everywhere. Demand action of your politicians and alert the media: The Lisas are required reading and they require publishing.
Thank you, good night, and God Bless America.
Disclaimer: Despite the evidence contained in this blog, The Lisas do not consume illegal drugs of any kind.