Dear Santa Claus,
I haven’t written to you lately, but I suppose you get enough mail at this time of year that you haven’t missed me. In fact, now that I think about it, I probably haven’t written to you since I was a kid and asked you for a Nancy Drew mystery for Christmas. I was a big mystery reader then, and I still am.
Well, I guess you’re wondering why I’m writing you now, especially since I’m not a little girl any longer. I’m a grownup (I guess), and now I write the mysteries I used to get for Christmas, but, Santa, I’m stuck. What I’m asking you for now is an idea for a story. I haven’t been able to write anything for a long time. I’ve run out of ideas.
I know you don’t usually carry packages of ideas in your sleigh. You usually bring toys and pretty dresses and books and computer games. But, Santa, before you say no, please hear me out.All I want is an idea for a story. That’s all. That should be simple for you. It’s not like a million dollars. Just an idea for a story, to get me writing again. That doesn’t seem like so much, does it?
Oh, and if you can, can you give me a really, really interesting main character–someone my readers will identify with and root for to find the answer to the puzzle. And, if it’s not too much trouble, maybe you could throw in a friend–you know, a sidekick–someone my main character can talk to and bounce ideas off. Of course I do need a villain, although I don’t suppose, being the good man that you are, that you have much experience with villains, but what’s a story without a good villain? I’m sure you can come up with someone evil and threatening, although not so obvious that the reader will guess his identity immediately.
Now, if you do this, give me an idea for a story and the characters, I’m sure I can take it from here. But, if you should be so inclined, maybe you could help by providing me with a good setting for the story. I know you’ve been all over the world, even if it’s only by sleigh on Christmas Eve,. but you know lots of places so you could give me a good place for the story to happen.
And, maybe the most important thing of all for a mystery story, I need a twist. That’s always the hardest part of the story–well, aside from the other things I asked for–but the twist in a mystery story is absolutely a necessity. No one wants to read a story that says that A met B and B hated A and then killed A and the police and everybody else knew it because they knew B didn’t like A. I need something new, something novel, a twist that will surprise my readers.
And, if you can also arrange that my story is accepted by some big name magazine, that would be terrific, too, but I can probably do that myself.
So, Santa Claus, I guess that’s it. That’s all I want for Christmas.
Lots of love,
That’s all you want for Christmas? You haven’t been in touch for years and years, and now that’s what you want for Christmas? Well, I’ve thought it over, and here’s my answer.
If I could come up with what you’ve asked for–a story idea, a protagonist, a sidekick, a villain, an interesting setting and a twist for the ending–if I could come up with all that, I’d write the story myself!