Lily Plot Notes: Here’s Where We Are Now

So eight weeks into this, Lily doesn’t have a plot, something you have all pointed out. And I don’t really want her to have a plot because then it won’t be play anymore. But even I am starting to be annoyed by how shapeless it all is. So I went back to my old standbys: conflict analysis and acts.

Protagonist: Lily
Goal: I HAVE NO IDEA. She likes Fin.

Antagonist: Dorothy (I think.)
Goal: Cover up what she’s doing at the museum. (I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THAT IS, EITHER.)

Lily starts therapy, meets Fin, rejects Seb.
Dorothy . . . I got nothing.
Okay, how about Lily has just been fired from the museum for getting too close to something Dorothy doesn’t want uncovered. Plus there was an ax. Really, I got nothing.

Scenes so far:
Lily vs. Dr. Ferris: Meets Nadia (What is Dr. Ferris up to anyway?)
Lily vs Seb: He wants something from her (No idea what)
Lily vs. Fin: FIrst Meet. Vikings to the right of me . . .
Fin vs. Bjorn: No you are not interested in Lily
Lily vs. Fin: Swapping back stories

Dorothy does something that threatens the Diner, bringing the Diner Band into action. That would be Lily, Fin, Bjorn, Van, and Cheryl. And possibly Dead-Eye Guy, who’s name should probably be Dick, but then Cheryl would just lose it.

Scenes so far:
Lily vs. Nadia: Vikings
Lily vs Bjorn: Where’s Fin?
Lily vs. Fin: First fight
Fin vs. Bjorn: Violet
Lily vs Fin: Regroup with Pie
Lily vs. Seb: Park with ice cream and Fin
Fin vs. Dead Eye: Lose the gun
Lily vs. Dead Eye: Scares off Seb
Fin vs. Bjorn: Wrong Move
Fin vs. Bjorn: Stop saving me
Lily vs.Fin: Half Pass
Lily vs. Fin: Fall

The Diner Band figures out what’s going on, Dorothy tries to burn down the diner building?

Scenes so far:
Lily vs. Cheryl (and Van): Pizza
Lily vs. Dead Eye: Cheryl’s Half Pass

The Diner Gang brings down Dorothy.

Scenes so far:
Snippet of Cheryl talking about having sex with Louis in the exhibits

Okay, that’s bad but not impossible. It’s bad because it’s too early in the game to be doing this, not because the plot will be difficult.

The museum plot is really a subplot here, it’s the romance that has the juice. And I’ve been thinking about it and I think I want this romance to run smoothly. That is, everything around it is going to be nuts, but Lily and Fin meet, negotiate the relationship, test it through trauma, and commit without any Big Misunderstandings or really any big fights. There’s that early fight outside the diner, but the next day they both want to make up. Fin is just a steady, good guy, and Lily is just a great woman. There’s something really comforting in that.

Which means Bjorn and Vanessa will get all the drama as foils. And of course, there’s Cheryl. I like the idea that Lily and Fin are eye of the hurricane, very calm while everything swirls around them, the arc just them growing closer. Because I also don’t see any reason for them to fight. They’re both free, they’re both in their thirties so less likely to make mistakes because they’ve already made them, they’re ready for calm and stability. It just makes sense that they’d move quietly through the noise and the haste, finding what peace there may be in a committed relationship. It’s not a romance plot I’ve written before, so I think that would be interesting.

Plus there’s Cheryl’s obsession which I thought was going to be mindfulness, but then Allanah said “Marie Kondo” and there’s something about Cheryl letting things go with joy . . .

And since this is not going to be book, it doesn’t matter that it’s not riveting.

The key is to make whatever’s going on at the museum echo what’s happening at the diner. The diner people are all going blithely on their own way, and so are the museum people and then their paths cross. I kind of like the idea that Dorothy is a doppelgänger of Lily, efficient and angry. If Louis is in charge, that makes Cheryl his opposite number, which is underscored by the fact that they used to be lovers. I can see Seb and Bjorn as parallels easier than I can see Seb and Fin, so I should look into that. Jessica and Van? Nope. Van’s opposite number would be somebody brilliantly efficient, working outside the chaos. Hmmm. Maybe Fin and the Dead-Eye guy, if he’s really working for the museum, somebody outside it–Fin and Bjorn are outside the diner–but allied with it in some way.

Fin/Guy in the suit?

And I’d need some diner regulars. Damn. If my diner was open, I’d go and listen to what people were saying.

I don’t want anything with high stakes, no international art thefts or anything complicated. I don’t want anybody running drugs. Really, the only thing I need to keep on playing is something that jogs the Girls awake.

Maybe the guy in the suit in Dorothy’s brother. That could be interesting, two guys that aren’t involved in the two settings getting sucked into the conflict to help women important in their lives. And then the guy in the suit (suddenly I’m getting Person of Interest vibes) falls for Cheryl. There’s something about these two quiet guys standing off to one side, shaking their heads as Cheryl and Louis become crazier and Lily and Dorothy get serious. I just don’t know what’s going on.

Of course it took me a couple of years to figure out fully what was happening on Nita’s island, but that was a book.

But I did get everything put into chronological order in one file, so that’s something. There’s nothing new in there, so no need to read it, but it’s here if you want to look. And it’s about 21,000 words, so that’s 20% of a novel, 80% of a novella, but it’s not a book so it doesn’t matter.

So what’s going on at the museum? Something with Louis’s secret Viking society, about which I know nothing. Not drugs, not high end art theft, nothing complicated. I’m good with low level graft, but that seems so pedestrian for Dorothy. I think Dead Eye Guy is Dorothy’s younger brother. I don’t think Bjorn and Vanessa get PoVs, but I think Dorothy might. Dorothy has needs; what are they?

And now I must hit the grocery and the pharmacy, finish putting the 2007 posts back, and do the third day of Nita by doing a scene list and starting to cut things and put in the pieces I haven’t added yet. Also the yard is a nightmare and so is the house. Packed, the days just are.

84 thoughts on “Lily Plot Notes: Here’s Where We Are Now

  1. Jenny your brain must just be going round in circles with all these scenes to sort out!, of to mention Nita 💆🏻‍♀️ Good wishes …I am sending you a truckload of them.

    1. I am getting frazzled, but it’s all pretty much organized now. As soon as I finish the final comparison of all the Lily docs so we have one master doc, I’m going back to Nita. I have three months of 2007, so that’s a good break from writing. And I have to find my purse . . .

  2. Yes, I’m worried that reposting the blog archive is going to be a Writing/editing job too far.

    Have no ideas for Lily. Except if there’s some kind of Viking group, maybe they could wear rings like one I had years ago, from my aunt who went on holiday to Norway. It was silver coloured with a shield shape filled with a Viking ship. Might have been a museum reproduction – I’ll have a rootle online and add a link if I can find something similar. I lost it in a burglary in my early twenties.

  3. You know the saying about how fights in the academic world are so vicious because the stakes are so low? Maybe that’s what Dorothy needs, very low stakes. People are crazy, it doesn’t take much to set them off.

    I saw this video on Imgur the other day, it was an officer’s vest camera footage, of a woman who refused to sign her ticket for something like a broken tail light and then BAM, she’s running from the cop and when she stops and he gets the door open she kicks at him and runs away on foot so he tasers her. She still won’t comply so he threatens to taser her again. All that for a ticket for a problem she had known about for months!

    I like the idea of Fin and Lily being adults about their relationship. I just read a book where the hero said that he was in an accident with his brother when he was a kid, totally not mentioning that the brother died, and then putting the heroine in the position of asking about the brother when she met his family. When confronted about this stupidity his response was “Yeah, I guess I should have told her he died.” The book was a wall-banger long before that but I needed something bland to read before bed.

  4. In my head, I have been thinking the museum conflict would be something like the Museum of the Bible controversy, where they were so desperate to get real ‘biblical’ artifacts that they bought a bunch of papyrus from an Oxford professor. Later it turned out the professor was taking actual Oxford-owned papyri from a library collection and selling them to the Museum of the Bible. In this case, while the Museum of the Bible folks definitely acted sketchy, so long as they believed the professor legally owned the papyri, it’s not clear they did anything illegal – but once again their total lack of curatorial competence takes a hit. And also now they have to give the artifacts back.

    1. Wasn’t there a recent story about a US biblical museum buying fragments ?of the Gospels that turned out to be fake?

      Maybe (this is a vague idea) given the Viking connection it could be something about genealogy – I keep thinking of Icelanders who trace their descent from figures in the Icelandic sagas. (I like the way they create their surnames, too, so that I’d be Jane Lornasdaughter and my brother, Michael Michaelsson).

        1. This reminds me of a conversation I had at a pub in London many years ago. We were talking abbot sexism in language when one guy said that all names should have a universal suffix-et. That way his girl friend’s name (Annie) would be Annet, his (Peter) would be Petet and mine would be Jacket (Jackie).

      1. They retained a Biblical scholar to advise them on purchasing artifacts and then ignored everything she said, so they ended up with a warehouse of illegal artifacts with unconfirmed provenance smuggled into the US.

        It is Seriously Difficult to buy genuine Biblical artifacts in the Middle East and the kindest assumption is that the Green family were suffering from Jerusalem Artifact Syndrome, where the tourist is sure that the artifact is the Real Thing. The press release, when they were shamed into returning about four thousand individual items to Iran, claimed inexperience. Don’t mind me, I was just cynical.

        [Tourists have been snookered about Middle Eastern artifacts for at least two thousand years, however; they just don’t learn!]

    2. I read that story in The Atlantic–somebody here linked to it, was that you?–and it was fascinating.

  5. Dead-eye’s name is Dave. Because.

    I got nuthin’, y’all. See my Twitter. Don’t want to harsh this cool space up. :-*

  6. Ongoing budget over-runs and an upcoming review by museum oversight? Dorothy keeps trying to get it together but her minions screw things up?

  7. Dorothy, the original Dorothy wanted to go home and she turned out to have means all along, those silver (book) ruby (movie) slippers she was wearing all along. Maybe Dorothy needs something and then she can go back to her world. (Thinking of my friend the archivist) Maybe she needs an artifact or research or original document to finish off her thesis, discovery project for her career advancement. She knows it’s there at the museum, because it is documented, but she can’t find it, because after Lily left noone is sorting things properly. She can’t ask for it outright, because it will bring unwanted scrutiny, someone else might get there ahead of her. So things get complicated when she tries to use subterfuge and in the end Lily just shakes her head and hands her a random unlabelled folder

  8. I love the idea of Fin and Lily moving more or less peacefully to a romance while craziness swirls around them. I am so enjoying reading Lily and Fin. Warm and steady in this time of insanity is so comforting.

    Do you want Dorothy to be a violent antagonist? What if she is embezzling funds from the museum? Still high stakes – the museum could fail, she could go to jail – but not violent. What if Louis and Seb know money is disappearing but not who and they suspect Lily? The axe could be an accident because Seb is a jerk who manhandles women, but not homicidal. Maybe Dorothy falsifies a health violation in the diner instead of trying to set it on fire. You could get plenty of craziness just from wacky characters.

    Ooh, ooh. Dead-eye Guy. His name is Richard. He does not answer to Dick.

  9. Bjorn + Vanessa + drama = me throwing my head back in anticipatory laughter

    Meanwhile, re: the secondary (museum) plot, let me spin a gossamer thread of could be (given what is known and what isn’t known so far) but isn’t (given it’s just speculation, or playing around, or something, and I’m not sure it quite fits anyway).

    Once upon a time, back in the eighteen century, there was a childless baron and baroness of industry, who lived at the center of a pleasant, growing town. In this town, to make their mark, they founded a college and a museum, and for their own pleasure they collected Viking jewelry and artifacts and related manuscripts. When they died, much of their collection went to the college library and the museum — except for the star piece of his collection, the Viking crown (or something). The Viking crown was rumored to have been thrown in the river, or buried in the garden, or… There were many rumors, but the truth was never discovered.

    Until one day, a clever woman (who may or may not be distantly related to the old baronial family) poking around in the storage areas of the museum discovered a coded diary which she was sure contained the answer to the mystery and the location of the treasure. All she needed to decode it was–

    Sadly, it wasn’t a simple code, and each page depended on something different from the estate of the baron and baroness of industry. Furniture and knickknacks that were spread all over town, as well as a number of items from the Viking collection that were, after all this time, spread across the country.

    But the clever woman and her allies persisted, until all they needed was two things, an axe whose haft diameter was the key to decoding a particularly vital page in the diary, and a dollhouse which had been built in the heyday of baronial power to exactly match the long since destroyed house of the baron and baroness (after a century or so, it had fallen into disrepair and been torn down and the land was eventually sold to someone who built a diner…).

    The axe somehow got mixed up with the reproduction axe Lily ordered (or she could have ordered that particular reproduction because it was a reproduction of an axe that had been in the collection of this founder of the museum and since she needed an axe anyway for her exhibit…)

    And the dollhouse… It sits in a place of honor in a certain diner, where no one is allowed to touch it, much less disassemble it to discover all its secrets.

    1. “Clever woman and her allies” could have enlisted grass roots help by running a social media scavenger hunt to find the “things” – That gets totally out of hand and results in lots of crazies searching/popping up long after they have most of the stuff. That could cause lots of drama, conflict and prat falls. Some of those people will try to stymie other ‘teams’ and end up blocking ‘Clever woman’ and or Lily in stuff that really needs to get done.

      1. In my head, I see Dorothy as a grand dame, snooty and stuck up, always criticizing staff for not treating the museum with the proper seriousness and gravitas. No penguins in the museum for her! No Cowboy Tim!

        A lot of people ally themselves with the arts for the prestige and perceived classiness without really being that interested in the mission. Like running the opera ball because then they can mingle with the ‘right people’. So maybe Dorothy is a social climber.

        I also like the genealogy angle, so she could be someone who thinks her family line makes her ‘special,’ but the outside world doesn’t recognize this and it is making her crazy trying to reestablish her rightful place. There are sometimes high up Museum folks and/or board members who feel that they have a license to ‘use’ items in the collection because they are so important (or because they have more valuable stuff in their own homes that gets used all the time so ‘I wash it in the dishwasher and it’s fine’. Like planning large dinner parties that use historic furniture, china, etc as a treat for VIPs.

        Dorothy could have planned a gala in the gallery, that lets the big donors ‘use’ artifacts and something gets broken and she’d covering it up. I picture drunken brawl with axes and tuxedoed guests waving goblets and turkey legs. Loss of reputation for museum, loss of prestige for her. Maybe she gets drunk too? Spiked mead? is photographed in a compromising position in a longboat? Trying to get a hold of the photos?

        Or if she initiated the scavenger hunt for artifacts useful in decoding the diary, she is desperately trying to get that under control. The scavengers are like vikings – always going on raids.

        But none of this is conflict with anyone on the team…

        1. These days genealogy buffs have DNA going for them, so there are some possibilities there. Dorothy could always be suffering from Same Name disease (“my ancestor’s name was Howard so we must be related to the Duke of Norfolk” sort of thing) though this is MUCH harder to do in Scandinavian countries with patronymic naming patterns and parish records going back only to about the mid-1600s. Though there are DNA projects there, too — I THINK probably location-centered, which is how I’d do it — try for DNA samples by parishes, which should provide a reasonably limited variety to sort out. I can see Dorothy demanding that the appropriate authorities allow her to have the occupants of the local cemetery exhumed for DNA samples . . . .

  10. I am starting to think that Dorothy is building a time portal in the museum basement, with Louis’s secret society doing the work of finding the parts (one of which might be housed in the diner?). I know, this is not a fantasy book (and definitely not a book), but who knows if the time portal is even real or just some kind of weirdness Dorothy thought up. Maybe she thinks it will take her home to Valhalla.

    1. Or actually, maybe Dorothy is building the Valhalla portal for her PhD (or other kind of academic goal). She doesn’t literally think it will create a magic portal, she just found a set of instructional ancient Norse runes and is desperate for publication/funding/tenure, or to prove something to the male-dominated Norse studies world.

      And Louis is happy to help her, because he thinks he’s building a Viking-themed sex dungeon. [this is probably a good point to mention that when you say that Louis has a secret society, I just assume it’s code for ‘Viking cosplay sex club,’ so there’s that]. Perhaps while he was briefly dating Cheryl, he ‘borrowed’ a vital component to show her, and now Cheryl won’t give it back? Which would be funny with the Marie Kondo-ing, with Cheryl gladly freeing herself of everything *except* the one thing they want.

      1. I was kind of thinking Viking sex club, too, with Valkyries, except everybody is middle-aged and totally clueless about Viking history, hence the helmets with horns.

        1. “Okay, everybody outa da hot tub! Da guy wit da horns onna helmet poked a hole an’ runed it for everyone!”

        2. Is Dorothy the kind of person who’d get upset about historically inaccurate sex in her museum? I know people who’d be more upset about the historical inaccuracies than they would about the sex dungeon.

          1. I don’t think so. I don’t know Dorothy very well yet, but I think she’s fed up with all of them.
            I think maybe she should have gotten the directorship and they gave it to that idiot Louis instead.

  11. I read a fascinating story, probably in the Washington Post, about a Viking burial ship that was found on a farm in Norway. Despite all the tales of setting bodies adrift in burning longboats, they often buried their dead, ships and all. The Norwegian government has appropriated 1.5

    1. million dollars towards the excavation. They have already x-rayed the field and found other remains. They think it may be some kind of longboat graveyard.
      Isn’t that amazing?

  12. Sounds like one of Bujold’s “Uncle Bo Tails” from the sharing knife volume three or four.

    “Blizzard come up sudden-like. They rowed ‘n’ rowed until, since they couldn’t see the tip o’ their own noses, They hunkered down ‘n’ tried to outlast the wind and snow. Next mornin’, t’ survivors woke up ‘n’ found theirsefs in the middle of a field, half mile ‘r so from t’ river.”

  13. I love the idea of them working together as a calm amid the storm. I think it is a neat change. And I like the idea of low stakes and perceived as very high stakes for Dorothy. It’s all personal. Or, maybe she’s trying to correct something embarrassing. I also thought genealogy would be a cool tie for her, or maybe she’s trying to steal something she perceives to be hers, or her family. Or something with dubious provenance, that she thinks should be repatriated.

  14. Is there a link to the composite of the revised scenes somewhere? It’s listed in the WIP Surprise Lilly page, but not hyperlinked to anything. Or maybe I’m missing/misreading something. It’s been a long week (haven’t they all?).

    1. I’m still putting it together. There were a lot of versions.
      I’ll try to get it up tomorrow.

  15. I adore the idea of Lily and Fin being the eye of the storm. Just love it. SO MUCH.

    And also the image of two quiet, compitent men standing off to one side.

    When you said that Cheryl is obsessed with letting go it made me think of Louis as a horder- office cluttered with stacks of useless and uninteresting things, like stacks of old phone books and never graded papers from 10 years ago. My father hoards, so it is instantly anxiety producing for me. Let it go with joy indeed.

    I don’t get the feeling that Dorothy would be motivated by anything as pedestrian as money. She seems like she would feel that it was beneath her. I don’t know why. Maybe her schtick is the pestige of the museum and it’s collection? Lily ordered a reproduction axe but Dorothy is replacing it with an authentic axe of shady origin? That is too close to art theft. Must think more about low level crime…

    1. Ok, what about this: Louis has a silly secret viking sex club. Dorothy finds out about it, plus the authentic axe he has ordered from shady sources as a prop and is horrified. She lives and breathes the reputation of the museum (which she has worked carefully towards) and thus the univerisity. She goes to Seb, who is also appalled because of loss of status/wealth/prestige and he agrees to help clean up the mess before the scandal is broken wide open.

      But Lily is about to see the packing slip for the axe and realize that it is not the one she ordered. And Cheryl knows that Louis has exotic tastes, she just doesn’t think it is that big of a deal and thus not really important. They are both loose ends. Cheryl has evidence? Kinky photos?

      For our museum team this is huge, world changing, atomic bomb level bad. For the diner crew, it is a little silly but not really concerning. Embarassing rather than illegal? And because our museum crew is paranoid, they feel threatened by the diner gang who keep inadvertently egging them on with Viking specials and such that are viewed as snide code…

      1. I like your idea, Lupe, of Dorothy trying to cover up stuff that Louis is doing, and the possibility of a disconnect between the way that the museum crew sees things (End of Career!!) and the way the diner crew sees things (another one of Cheryl’s weird stories, moving on…). That’d give a lot of space for the diner crew not taking things seriously or realising what the museum gang are after, because it’s not that big a deal, while the museum gang are prepared to do nefarious things to deal with it.

  16. Much of the Diner Gang is focused on or somehow using food. Can there be a museum mob parallel? Seeds? Booze?

    Also, somebody’s gotta wear a “Take a Liking to a Viking” t-shirt. Please.

    1. Just want to be clear that the slogan has been around for decades…glad it’s making people smile!

  17. I love it here.

    I just read Penelope Fitzgerald’s The Golden Child set in a museum hosting an exhibit on loan from an African nation of fabulous gold artifacts from antiquity. But it turns out that all of the items are actually fakes covered with gold leaf. Many museum employees are petty about the smallest things and completely obsessed not with the museum’s overall mission but the importance and prestige of their own departments.

  18. I think this is why you & the girls had been wanting to write about Dorothy before I was all in your head about, “yeah, but if this is Lily’s story who is she and what does she want and why doesn’t she DO something?!” and made you go all analysis paralysis instead of fun times doodling around.

    When you lay it out like this, it’s clear how much if Dorothy is the ultimate big bad/antagonist for Lily, that doodling Dorothy in and figuring out what makes her tick gives you & the girls another way of uncovering information about Lily too, without having to go at it head on just yet. Because you’re doodling the space around her – the way you said would help your students with the pear.

    Several thoughts struck me- you mentioned Lily is the one who was increasing the popularity of the museum with kids, which is problematic if they’re running a Viking “secret society” sex dungeon out of it like was floated above. So maybe something like that’s an issue. A successful museum could mean it has to be less secret sex-filled or not failing so Dorothy can reinvent it into whatever

    But I also wondered if maybe Dorothy’s problem/motivation isn’t necessarily rooted in some museum scheme, but in Lily. If she’s essentially being set up as the surprising shield maiden Viking warrior that Lily didn’t see coming, Dorothy could be messing with the museum just because she hates Lily and wants to raid her life.

    Maybe Dorothy has always loved Sebastian…either if they’re the right age because she’s attracted to him or if she’s older, because she’s his mother through the secret society or something. It would also explain why she’d need to do anything to the diner- hurt Lily by hitting her friends, etc.

    So maybe the museum plays a part, but maybe Dorothy’s driving factor could be “get that bitch who’s ruining my life by ruining my lucrative underground sex society, making me look bad at the day job because she’s so much better at creating the museum exhibits & stealing my man AND/Or whatever else the girls and you uncover is actually happening with her instead of my example ramblings” …

    And I think it’s kind of a cool nod to the title if Lily wasn’t ever intentionally thwarting her to start, but just sorta always cyclically popping up to block her way …

  19. I’m thinking the museum issue is something to do with bones. Bones that were supposed to be one thing, but it is beginning to look as if they might be something else.

    As for the romance, I LOVE reading romances where the main couple are sensible and talk about things instead of going off in a whirl of bad drama. They are so rare. So I really like what’s happening with Lily and Fin.

  20. How about a land grab? The museum is trying to acquire / do something related to land, the sword and other Viking stuff is required for bribes or something else, and there is a law firm involved (like The Good Fight people?), sending their investigators to investigate.

    I have been reading Michael Gilbert and watching The Good Fight.

      1. And at night, the spirits of the dead Vikings make burgers in Van’s kitchen.
        NO. No. More. Supernatural.
        Although that is appealing.

        1. The diner crew pour beer on the ground at night to toast the dead? Isn’t that some form of tradition?

  21. I love this post and discussion. It’s very cool, to see one process of ‘So I had this idea, and these things happen and gap, gap, sort that out later’. Creating something real from nothing at all, a whole world and story that people can live in and escape to and revisit and take pleasure in, just from imagination, skill, and hard work, which I know is bit nothing, but still looks like some kind of alchemy. Writers should get paid more.
    Thanks writers, all of you (and one in particular).

  22. Maybe either the secred sex club and the stolen artifacts stash are underneath the diner. Access through the normal tunnel gets cut off, or maybe Dorothy/Louis/Seb are getting twitchy about the risks they’re running.

    Maybe Fin’s expertise + Lily’s expertise + others’ of the 5’s expertise = revealing the club or stash. Now that Seb knows that Fin is tied to Lily, he is wild to break up the good guy team.

  23. Whatever Dorthy is doing, she could say it is part of the plan for certification by the American Alliance of Museums. Which is a group that sets standards and such for museums.

  24. “I think I want this romance to run smoothly. That is, everything around it is going to be nuts, but Lily and Fin meet, negotiate the relationship, test it through trauma, and commit without any Big Misunderstandings or really any big fights. There’s that early fight outside the diner, but the next day they both want to make up. Fin is just a steady, good guy, and Lily is just a great woman. There’s something really comforting in that.”


    This sums up the romances I like. I just want to read about two good people trying to do the best they can. And if there’s some laughs along the way, even better.

    I don’t want to read high anxiety, broken people plots all the time. A little bit here and there is fine – but I’m happier if they’ve come through the troubles already and are better people for it – and I am reading about them getting the life they deserve because they survived.

  25. If the universitys mascot was a Viking, then Dorothy’s plot could be tied into an anniversary or celebration for the school as a whole which could up the stakes a bit, from someone at the museum finding out to something that affects the whole university and town, since a lot of college towns are really tied to the succes of the school. Which might also bring the diner into it if there is a town wide celebration going on.

    Also increase the chance of the “Take a liking to a Viking” t-shirt.

    1. I like this a lot.

      What’s the name of the college? Because I have no idea. Made-up, of course.

      1. Barnegat College (you did say this was set in New Jersey, right? Or did I imagine that?)

      2. I looked up Scandinavian saints, which might be possible sources for college names, and came up with these:

        St. Olaf (though his name has been given to a very well-known college in Minnesota), St. Bridget of Sweden, the king St. Eric, St. Thorlac of Iceland, and St. Henry of Finland are the serious ones. The most unlikely “missionary” possible is probably Thangbrand.

        1. These are all great. Must read up to see which one I could use as part of the plot.

  26. If the museum and the university are connected, and connected because of it’s prestigious Viking collection, if the cornerstone exhibit of the museum that all the University students study turns out to contain fakes or they are real things but not Viking things and the museum has found this out but can’t say because geez all these University students come to this University because it’s the premier University to study Viking history and the museum is an integral part of that. And Lily who is no nonsense, was starting to realize the museum has a problem, Dorothy, Louis and Seb want this kept quiet – no one must know, major loss of $$s for them and prestige and will cause issues with the University etc. This could explain why Seb did not want Lily closely examining the axe – she would realize it wasn’t Viking, and why they have her on extended leave while they try to clean up their mess.

    1. How about the ax isn’t one Lily ordered but instead it’s been on display and Lily’s about to move it to her exhibition? Seb really doesn’t want Lily to find out, because heck, half the things on display are fakes and he and Dorothy are trying to figure out what to do about that disaster – as you say, they’d lose massive amounts of prestige and $$ if word got out. And they don’t trust Lily to keep her mouth shut about fakes.

      And it turns out that the fakes are because Louis had replicas made so he could use the real things in his Viking sex dungeon. He’s got away with that for years by producing the real things any time someone wants to study them closely, so it took a while for Seb and Dorothy to realise just how many replicas there are around the place.

      And it ties into the diner because Louis gifted one of the replicas to Cheryl, except he screwed up and gave her the real thing instead. And she displays it in the diner, locked up carefully. Seb recognised it when he went to the diner with Lily, and now he has to get it back. That could be what he’s desperate to talk to Lily about.

      This is fun to play with!

      1. I want to know who makes such good fakes that you can’t tell them apart. It has to be an inside job. Unwittingly or no, that is a skilled crafts person.

        This town should start a viking fest like a ren fair.

          1. I was going to suggest Uff Da Days, but several real-life festivals beat me to it.

    2. I think they bought Fakes from Dempsey Sr or Matilda’s dad 🙂 we would probably need some cameo appearances

      Buying or selling fakes.

      Or maybe Dorothy has some plot to ruin the museum because they are giving her a wok instead of a gold watch for her retirement present. ( they actually did this to my grandma because she was a woman even though she was also county auditor. It made her mad but she plotted no revenge)

  27. Sorry if this has already been covered, but Dr. Ferris is Fenris/Fenrir, right? So, something-something Ragnarok?
    No? Too metaphysically big?

  28. Late to this post, but having worked in a few small museums in smallish cities, fraud and/money laundering would be a likely possibility. I’ve seen museums give really big tax receipts to low quality or fraudulent donors. And in one case, I noted that an auction house that had a long history of fakes And stolen objects were the donors of Roman pottery and other artifacts. They succeeded by playing into the ego of my boss who pictured himself as much more savvy and sophisticated than he was.

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