Every story must have a McGuffin. The McGuffin is the thing the story turns on.
In North by Northwest, a ring of Russian spies mistake Richard O. Thornhill for a government agent.
The McGuffin in the short stories, Rain and Factory Town is how much trouble you can get into trying to solve peoples’ problems. In the case of Rain it’s bringing rain to the desert south west, the in case of Factory Town, it’s bringing jobs to a depressed area.
I’m beginning to work on the McGuffin for my 11th novel, tentatively titled Desert Song.
In my 10th novel, Down at the Stern, Jack English spends a harrowing couple of weeks at sea fighting off pirates and trying not to drown. The last thing he wants at this point is another sea adventure. So, when a college friend invites him to spend some time out west, he goes.
The friend studied physics at Rutgers Camden and went to work for Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works – all very, very, hush, hush stuff.
The friend, a certifiable genius and futurist, leaves Lockheed Martin and starts a project near Rachel, Nevada, a desert wasteland. Rachel, Nevada is not far from Area 51.
Genius is a funny thing. Sometimes it’s hard to tell where genius ends and madness begins. Throw in a workforce comprised of ex-convicts and a greedy corporation and anything can happen. Stay tuned and I’ll give you updates on how Desert Song unfolds.