Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Writing excuses season 10 master class Ep 4

Episode 4 Q&A on ideas

There was no homework for episode 3… I swear there wasn’t.
But for episode 4 it is: Audition five different characters for one of your story ideas.

Change the sex, age, jobs, ethnicity, or have different levels of experience.
Find some way that they can fit in your story.

Hmmm… I am going to choose the role of the detective in the widow time travel case.

1. older and experienced man of colour

All I can think of is the movie se7en, or Lethal Weapon, so my older, world weary detective is Morgan Freeman - he’s an older man of colour, well read, and he has weeks before he retires. But he trusts his instincts and this case has him smelling a rat. He is open to ideas of time travel because he has always had a cheap scifi paperback in the pocket of his trench coat. As a result of his reading, he has absorbed a few rules of science and quantum mechanics. He has Internet friends at university labs that he chats to online and can ask ‘hypothetical’ questions.
So… he actually believes the widow and knows that her husband's murder can’t be written up as solved, but he wants to travel through time. Maybe it’s on his bucket list?
Does his time trip change the case somehow? Does he solve the case and then retire in the past? Or the future? Does the widow want the time machine? Or would she give it away?

2. young and inexperienced

And female? Such a massive chip on her shoulder to prove that she is as good as the other detectives, but they have deliberately given her the freaky weird, rich guy case thinking that it will be too difficult and destroy her, or that she will bring down a legal case against the department from the widow, or have Internal Affairs all up in her business, or that she will fail so badly she will go back to uniform. They will take any of these options. And they have made themselves scarce to leave her to her fate.
She, on the other hand, more than needs to solve it. She HAS to solve it. Her own self-worth is pegged to this case. It’s a rookie mistake but she’s a rookie. She gets emotional about the kids and the widow, gets protective of the widow against the insurance company, angry with the widow’s lover; gah this girl’s got issues… lol.
How does that spin it when the case looks like being unsolvable? Is there a way she can get a result? If so, how? Does her emotions help solve the case?
Who is her partner? Are they on sick leave or something that leaves her alone all the time. Who is the murderer? And what is their motive?

3. male, geeky, young CSI dude

He’s not supposed to investigate the case but just try and stop him when those weird lab results come in. He keeps going out to the house to redo tests. He feels sorry for the kids / widow, and pushes the investigation. Does the tests the detectives haven’t even ordered. Generally gets too involved in the case. 
Sticks his hacker nose into bank account records. Checks up on the widow’s lover.
Or does he start with the odd blood tests from the victim? He can’t get it to add up - the rare illness, the symptoms/residue (whatever time travel does to your blood) and the way he was murdered. He may discover that the kids are not the victim’s children and when the widow tells him she was encouraged to find other fathers for them, he gets dragged into it.
Does he invent some techie machine that reads temporal residue or chromatic particles or whatever (makes it out of cast off lab equipment) and it goes crazy at the house. He finds and identifies the time travel device himself.
Maybe he has anxiety issues similar to the victim’s fear of the dark?

4. shady antique dealer

Imagine if a crooked antique dealer got hold of a time machine? You like Hepplewhite chairs? I can get a set of eight for you … but it will cost.
No, wait - that’s a whole new story.

5. MacGyver /Jim Rockford detective

Or Michael Weston of Burn Notice for the modern viewers.
He’s a rule breaker detective, never does his filing or types up his own reports. He flirts with the widow, cuts corners, knows all the shady types but has a heart of gold and takes the hopeless cases and solves them in his own way. Has legion of people he has helped before who can assist. They follow the lover and the insurance investigator.
He hates guns.
Make him a different ethnicity; Spanish or Italian or North African. Maybe he has family connections that he uses all the time, too.
What MacGyver would do with a time machine is another whole novel as well… bwahaha.

But the big issue is working out the why and whodunit of the murder, before I go crazy on the detective options. Or, do I do a Christie and have several options, any of whom could be the murderer and decide at the last minute.