Can we blame 2016 for the Northern Ireland Assembly being on the verge of falling apart? I know it happened in 2017, but the groundwork was laid in 2016…and, you know, a lot of history.
Anyhow, I’m not willing to give up on the possibility of 2017. It’s 11 days old. It still has potential!
I’ve kicked off 2017 with a new book in which, to break from tradition, no one gets killed. It’s possible that there won’t even be a dead person. Now, I’m not going to commit myself to there being no crime. That’s a step too far, and I don’t want to end up trapped in a narrative dead end that a well-timed misdemeanor would get me out of.
Still, nobody dies?
That’s going to be difficult. I come from a roleplaying background. There you always have ‘rocks fall, everyone dies’* to resort to.
Players refuse to accept that the pond is just a pond and move on to the actual plot? Rocks fall, everyone dies.
Despite your best efforts, the players whittled their stakes into toothpicks and watered daisies with the holy water. Now the vampires are going to eat them all. Rocks fall, everyone dies.
Player with ridiculous charisma and no common sense is ruining everything? Rocks fall, goddamn it…they charmed their way out of it! (That was actually me! She was the best character. Once she set a whole town on fire and flirted her way out of it in court. DM hated her.)
OK, so I don’t resort to ‘rocks fall, everyone dies’ quite as freely in serious writing. Crime, particularly murder, is such a good tool to move the substructure of a community or setting though. It upsets the status quo, the expectations of accepted behaviour and safety that comprise society, and everyone reacts in different ways to that. It’s like a snow globe–best once you’ve given it a shake up.
The book I’m working on doesn’t quite work with that level of disruption though. I’ve even had to pull back on the grimy past of one character. It was great, and I liked him, but it made no sense for that person to hang around in this place unless he was up to something so dodgy it would have scared love interest off.
I am having fun with it, though. I really love the setting and now I’ve got the characters settled everything is working well. Although, like I said, I’m not promising not to throw in a few petty crimes if I need to!
*everyone that you need to get out of the way to move on, anyhow!
Find TA Moore at www.nevertobetold.co.uk