When the Clever gets in the Way

I’ve spent some time lately designing a con for my MC to pull that would get a minor character to pass some info to his boss.

I tried a honey trap, a pigeon drop, a reverse bingo, and something of my own that involved everything but alligators, a length of red ribbon, and a Volvo. I was tying my brain in knots to make the scene scintillate, and it just sat there on the page and smirked at me.

As is my wont, I whined about this to a friend, who sent me this bit of brilliance from Randall Munroe at xkcd.com. It’s called Macgyver Gets Lazy:

Personally, I’d call this MacGyver Cuts to the Chase, because it suddenly occurred to me that all my MC has to do is threaten the minion with bodily harm and he’d cave like the cowardly weasel he is.

Done. It even scintillates a little.

I guess clever sometimes gets in the way. And trying to be clever—which is about my speed—is even worse.

As long as I have friends willing to call me on it—you know who you are—I think I’ll be all right.