Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Dead are annoying.

I'm actually really liking my main character (Shannon Stark) a lot this time around.  Last year, I sort of despised my character, because she was a whingey version of my own whingey 16 year old self.  Mostly, I hate dealing with my 16 year old self -- she's neurotic, self obsessed, needy, and awkward beyond belief.  (What?  I'm still like that?  Shut up.)

In contrast, Shannon is sassy and outspoken, and doesn't take shit from people.  Also, she doesn't care if people like her or not.  And she asks pointed, nosy questions without feeling guilty for them.   She's unapologetically liberal.  She pursues social justice -- I mean, actually does stuff to try to make the world a better place, and not just to make herself feel smugly better, but because that's just what you do.  Furthermore, she doesn't feel any crushing sense of guilt or strange "responsibility" for other peoples' happiness. She doesn't get into life-sucking friendships with emotional vampires, just because they seem to "need" her, and she doesn't bother to forgive her parents for their wretched lack of parenting or their evil prejudices.

Also, I've discovered that the Dead in my novel are annoying and self obsessed.  They have lost their "personality," for the most part -- they don't even have names, per se, anymore, and they don't like to be called by their Lifer names.  They not only refuse to be helpful and don't answer direct questions but they tend not to have a sense of humor.  Does death obliterate the sense of humor?  Does death erase love and connection?  Not sure.  I'll have to ask the same question a few days from now, when I'm more deeply into the thing.

Also, the Dead, like the living, are caught up in us-them reasoning, making tribal judgements and divisions.  In other words, they're just as mean-spirited and exclusionary as Lifers.  The ones who will deal with Shannon are stuck in the Lifer Land for as long as it takes to finish their business, which usually means that they lived less than effective or helpful lives and are "punished" with having to stick around until they finish whatever it is that they've started -- or are witness to the devastation wrought by their bad lives.  Or else something traumatic happened to them before they could do something crucial, and they are allowed to hang back with Lifers long enough to try to address the problem.

At least, that's what I think right now.  I'll have to figure out what I think tomorrow, and the next day.



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