the fitzhardinges on narrative

J: I loved that queryletters site. There was this one movie pitch about a guy who married an heiress who died, so he found another woman and gave her plastic surgery to look like his wife, so he could keep the money. And it was so obvious that the writer had fallen in love with his hook, changing a woman into another woman, so all the characters had to just run around and obey the plot. And all the pitches are like that!

R: That site saddens me. The heiress plot is such transparent wish-fulfillment fantasy. The writer wants to make interchangeable women because he thinks it’ll make him rich.

J: There’s a line in an Umberto Eco novel about how tiring it is to be a fictional character. The plot is always kicking you along, and you never get to be yourself.

R: Those letters are from the people who never figured out that ‘A hero goes on a journey’ and ‘A stranger comes to town’ are actually the same story.

I order our bagels. Jeremy finds a table. I approach.

R: Well hello stranger. What brings you to town?

He wiggles his fingers around his mouth in the universal sign of octopi.

R: Oh no! You’re a Cthulhu! I married a Cthulhu!

J: No, I’m just in town for the Cthulhu convention.

R: Ah.

J: …

R (sighing inwardly): Yes?

J: Did you hear about the fortune teller who was molested at a Cthulhu convention?

R: No.

J: She filed a seersucker suit.

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