Saturday, May 7, 2011

On the Therapy Couch

I seem to have this awful habit right now of working with characters who are severely messed up in all sorts of ways. I've finished editing Contact 2009 for now, mostly because I got sick of all the wholesomeness and romance and pretty little fairytale ending, and now I'm juggling three different, well-established stories which all have as their protagonist someone who really ought to see a councellor.

The Notebook story is back after a long hiatus, for starters. The main character is a young man who, for convenience's sake, I'll call Ankh (which is actually only the first quarter of his real name). He's a poet in a world which has no time for anyone who can't make money or work down a mine. For the past seven years he's been throwing his entire emotional life into his poetry because he's had nothing else, so he was always very shy and withdrawn. He has a serious phobia about large crowds. But now he's fallen in love with a girl he's not allowed to be with, and he's not good at dealing with difficult emotional situations in the real world. He is getting very angry and depressed, and it's only going to get worse.

Then there's Prototype, which is in editing yet again because if I leave it alone for more than a month or two I start getting the itch. I've mentioned Xenna before, I think. She's somewhere between a pirate and a freedom fighter, with a permanent identity crisis going on because she was created as a weapon of war, but developed free will and escaped. She's half mostly-human, half cybernetic implants. I also suspect her of being bipolar. She tries and fails to kill herself twice during the story, which only covers the last month or two of her life. And then she saves humanity by self-destructing and blowing up the bad guy, right after her unwanted sidekick finally gets the guts to tell her he loves her. Nice.

And Seline. Her story has no title as of yet, since I have very little idea where it's going. What I do know is that she's from Mars Colony, where authority broke down about a hundred years ago and now there's nothing much left except rival scavenger gangs and smoking debris. It taught her to be pretty damn tough, and then she managed to escape to Gamma Six and became a police officer. She's sort of locked out all her childhood memories to protect herself, but they've recently started surfacing in nightmares. This is way more problematic than it sounds, since for complicated reasons the nightmares could end up getting her deported. The only person she's told about it is her husband Dex, but even though they truly love each other things are always a bit awkward between them because they're different species, so they can't have kids, and if they tried Seline could get seriously hurt because Dex is two feet taller, twice as wide and about six times as strong as her. And then she meets Felix by arresting him for running out on a doctor's bill, and he's everything Dex isn't, so they really get on each other's nerves and she constantly wants to punch him. But it's going to turn out that they're having the same nightmares, and I have a feeling they're going to end up getting drunk and doing something stupid. This is the first story I've done where the personalities are creating the plot along the way, and it's fun but also quite depressing that the personalities automatically create such a messed-up plot.

So, this post was by way of being a very long and tedious confessional. Clearly, I need to get all my characters some therapy sessions. One wouldn't be able to afford them and the other two are far too proud, but I'll give it a go.

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