I really don’t like thinking that I’m a sadistic rat, mind you. I mean, I know I’m a long way from being a good person–keeping in mind that I have rather high standards in that regard–I’m far too aware of my own shortcomings, and all the times I knew what the right thing to do was…and didn’t do it. So no, I don’t consider myself a particularly good person in the sense of being a credit to my species, but a “sadistic rat”? Isn’t that a little harsh?
No, not really. See, I’ve been working on a writing project in plot resolution mode for a bit. It’s slowing down the actual word count, but it’s a necessary step. And the question “What’s at stake for my hero in this?” quickly morphs into “What is the absolute worst thing I can do to him?” And I thought of something diabolical. Nasty. Heart-breaking. I know what you’re thinking, but that’s not the “sadistic rat” part. That came out when I realized that the absolute worst thing wasn’t actually the absolute worst thing, because I had already done the absolute worst thing to him that I could do in a previous adventure…which wasn’t the absolute worst thing either, because it occurred to me that the absolute worst thing was something I’d done to him even before the reader ever met the guy, something that continues to haunt him until the present situation and will beyond it, assuming he survives.
So, not the “absolute worst thing” I could do to him, because I’d already done it. Twice over. But pretty damn bad. And, yes, I’m going to do it. The story needs it, and the story always comes first.
I am a sadistic rat, no question. It goes with the job description.