I hope you listened to the song I paired with that story. I think it actually fit really well. Plus, I just really, really like that song.
So, that story was sad, but not completely. Like Laid To Rest, I wanted this story to be a sad one that trended towards...well, if not happiness, then at least taking the first step on the road back to happiness.
Drake afforded me something more interesting in terms of his character and where he could go. I'm interested in questions. I think most authors are. I remember Stephen King saying of his earlier novels that they could be best described in the form of a what if? question, the novel being the answer to the question. Or his answer.
I'm interested in figuring out what happens to characters when you push them past the breaking point.
I think a very, very interesting potential for character development and storytelling is doing this exact thing. Think about it, you take a character, and that character (like most) live with a philosophy of 'I can keep going so long as X', X being whatever it is they rely on at their core.
Drake could keep going through basically anything so long as Trent was there.
But what happens if Trent dies? What does he do then? Drake couldn't possibly imagine his life without Trent, so it's a total unknown for him. He had spent so much time with Trent ingrained in his life and they had survived so much crazy shit that Drake had subconsciously internalized the idea that either they would both be alive or they would both be dead.
On top of that, Drake was content. Trent was the conflicted one. Drake was happy with the way things were and considered himself a simple person. Conflict is easier to map out, easier to write about. It's a bit more difficult to figure out what conflict will manifest from someone who was previously content.
On a side note, in regards to seeing how far people will go, I wanted to ask that question in Necropolis 4 with Enzo. He's lived with his pain for thirty years, but what happens if it gets worse? What will he do if forced to? How far will he go? It's always interesting to see what characters do when their hand is forced.
A good example is the third episode of Season Three of Rick & Morty. In Pickle Rick, Rick puts himself into a situation that goes from silly and stupid to absolutely life threatening, and we actually get to see precisely how far Rick can and will go if his hand is forced, even if he did it to himself. (Pickle Rick is my second favorite episode, next to Auto-Erotic Assimilation, because holy fuck, I love that ending. Also, that song that plays at the end of Auto-Erotic Assimilation, I am so fucking using it to be paired with a chapter in one of the upcoming Shadow Wars books, so...strap yourselves in for some depression! Yay!)
Then we can talk about the simple idea of this short story. Drake considers the notion that 'a good deed is its own reward' isn't bullshit, it isn't something people just say to each other or a generic, bland platitude that was passed around so much that it lost any meaning a long, long time ago. And I believe that.
And, in case you haven't picked up on it, I'm not a particularly optimistic person, so I don't feel like I'm believing that in a blind or fanatical way.
I got tired of cynicism and apathy several years ago. It feels really generic to say so, (what doesn't in this day and age?), but it just feels like a lot of people complain for the sake of complaining or hating on something or looking smart or feeling superior, without actually trying to even think about how to fix it. Or if they do have a way to fix a problem, it's usually something fucking stupid that basically tries to erase or silence whoever opposes them instead of actually figuring the problem out.
I could go on and on about this, really.
So we'll end it here. Whichever you read next, EB-303 or Starck's Lament, I hope you enjoy it!
YOU ARE READING
Small Acts of Kindness (A Shadow Wars Companion)Short Story
A companion short story set after Necropolis 4: Terminal. Drake Winters is a man lost. For six months, he has relentlessly tracked Enzo, the man he holds responsible for the death of his best friend and brother-in-arms, Trent. But now, Enzo is dead...