Friday, June 15, 2007

Script Frenzy: Gender Issue

Okay, you want to know why I'm starting over? You want to know my insane idea that's pushed me to throwing out all my hard work and beginning anew once more? You want to know just how crazy I am? Do you? Huh, do you? You want to get nuts? Come on! Let's get nuts!

You ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?

Oh wait, sorry, that's the insane idea in Batman.

No, here's my crazy idea. I want to switch the gender of one of my main characters. Turn my rugged, simple, faithful knight in shinning armor who's devoted to my little mage from a guy to a girl. You'll have to trust me when I say it makes the whole damn story make sense.

But, as you might imagine, it makes a lot of dialog and description useless. Not to mention that I need to set up the big reveal where you find out that “he” is a “she”. Which, no, isn't the ending but it's that dramatic bump I need to get the story there. The spanner in the works that tumbles things out of Act 2 and into the final resolution. Or one of them, anyway.

My problem, though, is that this leaves me with a grand total of two main characters both of whom are female. And, you know, I'm not. Worse, one of my main plot devices is a charm spell which, supposedly, makes the knight/soldier very devoted to the mage/sorcerer. Very devoted. Like, standing outside her window playing Peter Gabriel devoted. So there's this undercurrent of love running throughout the story. And I'd be turning that into, well, some kind of lesbian thing. Which, hey, you know, not that there's anything wrong with that (Don't make me get a picture of me and my lesbo friend, now. 'Cuz I'll do it.). And, hey, if that's the way the story goes, that's the way it goes and I'm going to follow it. But I've got this feeling it turns me into that guy. The overly creepy and pasty one who buys way too many tissues.

Here's the thing, though, you might or might not remember but this story is based, in part, on some prep work I did for a web comic way back when (I flirt with the idea of starting one every now and then until I realize I can't draw anymore.). Not so much the plot or anything but, long ago, I drew up the characters and villains, did some design work and thought about the layout of the world, that sort of thing. Especially my main characters. Who were going to be the main characters of that web comic.

And, in my original notes, in my original sketches, this character was, in fact, female. The kind of female that realistically wears chain mail and swings around a long sword but, still, recognizably female. Not male the way I've been writing it lately. I believe I was likely downplaying the love-love part in favor of some kind of intense friendship. And, perhaps, a bit of Xena-esque “will they or won't they?” tension. You know, subtext. But my thinking, at the time, was that if I was going to go through the trouble of making a webcomic, I might as well load it with pretty girls in the hopes that they might, well, sell better. Not exactly sell, I guess, but, face it, if you've got the choice between reading a comic featuring a bunch of hot girls running around and a bunch of armor clad burly men, which one do you think the average webcomics trawler is going to go for? Yeah, I wouldn't think so, either, but I guess that's why I should be glad that comic never got off the ground.

It's just weird, though. I'm not really altering this character so much as I'm returning them to their roots. And it's not like we're doing explicit Red Shoe Diaries type stuff here. This is all played out on a very innocent, very unrequited plane. I don't think the characters ever even managed to so much as get all touchy-feely even when the one was a male. So, it's not as if I'm trying to play the “omg hot lezbienZS!!!!” card or anything.

No high heels and lipstick covered lace or anything. We're talking about character motivations and drives here. Which are something I feel I need to think about if I'm going to be writing a piece. I'm not trying to exploit things here. Not trying to push boundaries. Just explore the kind of confusing, swirling feelings of falling unexpectedly, maybe even unwantingly, in love. If anything, changing the lead from a male to a female only enhances that aspect.

It moves the subtext into a place where I can not just hint at it but actually bring it up. Gives both characters a reason to act both for and against their feelings. Could lead to some tension lightening funny bits. It makes sense. But I don't know why I feel so...conflicted about it.

I pretty much have to do it, though. I mean, I'm crazy.

Just the right kind of crazy, though.

So, come on, let's get rid of those nuts.

No comments: