We drove our RV to San Diego the other day and took I-10 to Interstate 8, which dictionaries could use to illustrate the definition of desolate. We had the road mostly to ourselves as we motored along at a cruise-controlled 60 mph. A storm front had already come and gone earlier in the trip, leaving us with bright sunshine, dry air, and our thoughts to ourselves. Blistering-hot Yuma lay in the distance for our overnight stop.
We played music on our iPod, but we've heard it all before; we chatted amiably, but as an old married couple we've said it all before. My mind drifted to writing projects. The lonely Interstate was a good place to plan the broad outlines of a novel. So I began Driving While Daydreaming, which shouldn't be a problem as long as the driving takes precedence.
I started thinking of some of my co-workers over the years of my checkered career, and who had traits that would make good fictional characters. And then I thought of some of my bosses. It didn't take long to think of one or two who would make dandy victims in a murder mystery. Mind you, most of them were essentially nice people, but some had a trait here or there that had me grinding my teeth. Combine the worst traits of several bosses, and voila (or viola, for the musically inclined)--you have the Victim Who Deserves It. The entire office will shed crocodile tears, secretly glad someone else did the deed for them.
A unique plot? Of course not. Precious few basic plots exist, but only you have had that particular combination of godawful bosses and quirky co-workers. That's where you make the story your own. You don't want to describe real people, of course, so be sure to mix everything up. Combine not only personality traits but people's looks, even gender and occupation. And then get out your virtual gun, twirl your virtual mustache, and plot a virtual crime.
Don't worry. Keep your eyes on the road, and a jury will never convict you of DWD.