We all love our own characters right? Lovely people, walking and talking in our heads every day and making it all seems so right. Then we start to write scripts with them in and we give them little voices and quirks. We like them, we want to invest in them, we want the world to love them too.
Then something odd happens.
The story doesn’t work and we have to engage in a fiction mercy killing. No one character is bigger than the story and this has come shooting to the very front of my mind in the last few hours concerning ‘The Last Alive’. I had a whole idea set up that a woman running an archeological dig would find a perfectly preserved body of a young girl who was thought to be missing years before from a small village in Scotland. She would then team with a local police officer in order to find out what had happened. This police officer would also still have to deal with the fact the girl’s mother still lives in the village and blames him for not finding her years before. This is the version I started to write a good few weeks ago now but found it stalling before it had really taken off.
The more I’ve asked myself what’s going to happen the more I’ve thought about how events would pan out between the girl’s mother, the policeman and the girl herself (especially as she’s claiming to be from another world). Only this morning did I realise that I hadn’t thought about the archeologist that much at all. Then I started wondering if she actually needs to be there. What does she add? How does she drive events forward? Bar finding a body at the start she does nothing else and it was harder and harder to find a reason for her to be there. The far more interesting story here is a Mother who, on the surface of it, has been given back something she long thought lost before finding it might not be what she had hoped for.
So that’s it, she dies, she is deleted, she is wiped from memory. In a really strange way, the way forward is much clearer now she’s gone.