Thursday, 17 January 2013

Altruism is a Unicorn

When the lights go out
Will you take me with you?
– My Chemical Romance, Summertime

Luke doesn’t do anything unless there’s something in it for him. Period.
He goes out with Paisley because he doesn’t like getting bothered by the popular kids. He punts because he doesn’t have to commit to anyone. He’s a charming, sarcastic prick because it’s easier than being decent. For Luke, altruism is about as real as unicorns.

What do people think of unicorns? They’d be awesome as fuck if they existed.

For a character to be likable, I have one rule. They need to be unicorns.
The hard part is convincing them.

All characters have the ability to be unicorns. It’s like having a locked chest inside them. Someone or something else out there has the key, but it’s up to them to open it.
And by the end of your novel, they have to want it open.

Point in case: Luke Maynard. At the start of the novel, he’s about to cheat on his apparently asexual girlfriend* (again) with a streetwalker that turns out to be a vampire assassin**. At the end of the novel, he’s most probably going to die for her. The assassin, that is.
Of course, a shitload of unicorn hunting happens between that, but the most important thing is that October Elliot holds Luke’s key, and by the end of the novel, they’ve found his unicorn.

And an explanation of my opening quote: would you take someone with you when there’s no one around to see it? When the only person it’ll affect is you? When the lights go out, will you take me with you?

Love always,

* Spoiler: she’s not actually asexual. I’ll explain more later.
** It makes sense in context, honest. And by a vampire assassin I mean a vampire who kills people, not a vampire killer.
NB: I know this post made next to no sense. I’m sorry, guys. I’m sorry.

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