Fear in Writing: I have a brother-in-law named Scott...but not really.

Today in Literary History

Today in Literary History...December 14, 1907: Rudyard Kipling receives the Nobel prize for literature, the first English-language writer to do so.ud

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I have a brother-in-law named Scott...but not really.

Everyone in Memphis thinks I do. He is a pilot and when he flies they call him "Scott," when he lands they call him "Scott," when he runs pre-flight checks and calls for gas they call him "Scott."

But his name is Nick.

It turns out that Nick interviewed for the pilot job on a whim, not thinking he had much of a chance at it, and as a joke put down his middle name as his preferred name. Then they hired him. And he is stuck.I just heard this story last night and it got me thinking. My brother-in-law is a very honest person, but what a great way to weave dishonesty into a story! How many ways could we use something like this in a narrative?

1. We could make an honest character bad. The protagonist could knowingly play a trick that snowballs into murder.

2. We could shine light on the sneakiness of the antagonist. Common use would be a secret life, but we could also use cover names for doing evil deeds, create a spy from whole-cloth, etc.

3. We could...Any other ideas?

As for my brother-in-law, I don't know how long Nick will be Scott. His wife now follows this blog so maybe she will keep us updated. I'm sure it gets tricky answering the phone at home and going to office parties. But nothing is easy in the life of a pilot.

Or maybe we should ask the question, who is he really, Nick or Scott?


  1. ROFLMBO! We are definately having trouble figuring out what to put on his cell phone message. For the home phone we're either going to have to list both Nick and Scott (making people really wonder what kind of household this is) or just list "the *last name* family". I continue to call him Nick but I feel like he shouldn't be going by his "secret" name!

  2. Aaaah, the "secret" name...I like that. You know this will make for many jokes at holidays for YEARS to come!


  3. That's hilarious :)

    I love having an "oops" moment turn into a major plot point. Kind of like my real life actually!

  4. Look, we are always told to "relax and be yourself" at an interview. Problem is you can't do both because 'yourself' is not relaxed at interviews. Lets use that as the hypothesis. For experiment number one I chose to relax and be someone else. Results: Raging success!. However there is no satisfactory control sample to be sure of because I have yet to have an unsatisfactory interview. Conclusion: to be determined though I am definitly on to something. It's not my first alias though as substitute teachers and college professors also fell prey to my shenanigans. One semester at college I had 3 different names. I will also pose the idea that Scott is a person of questionable integrity with an alter ego (Nick) who is a reflection of honesty weaved into the character. You have been hoodwinked all along. Another point to consider is Scott's explicit flying skills are suitable for mature audiences only so it would not be a roll fit for Nick. Can you just imagine Nick flying a plane?

  5. Fabulous Nick/Scott. You posted the most interesting comment of all. Thank you! And I agree, some of Nick's antics are not fit for mature audiences...