Saturday, February 19, 2011

Character Accountability

Okay, so you have the perfect main character "talking" to you.  You follow what they tell you and sometimes they agree with what you personally believe and sometimes, well, it's completely contrary to all that you put faith in.  I know I've run into it in the past, and in fact, with my current WIP I'm dealing with exactly the same thing.  But how far is too far and where should the line be drawn?

In recent months I watched a movie that affected me deeply, but it wasn't the plot line, the well-thought out characters, it was what 1 specific character said.  In fact, that one line stalled the rest of the movie for me.  I had a hard time paying any credit to it.

You see, about 2 years ago now, I lost a good friend to suicide.  He would have been 32 at the time.  He was happily married, everything seemed fine.  And even though my husband and I had been great friends with them for a time, we grew apart.  But with this said, they both still held a part of our life in theirs.

Now any of you that have lost a loved one, a friend, an associate, to suicide know that there is never a satisfying answer to why.  You are angry, you're hurt, you even try to justify their action but trying to sympathize with what they may have been feeling at the time.

But when a movie line touched on this personal experience with what I considered a callous statement, well, it tainted the entire movie for me.  I won't disclose the name of the movie, but suffice it to say that this character basically said that the person who had committed suicide was courageous.  Instantly my defenses went up.  But it made me realize that what we put out there as writers has the ability to affect people, whether for the good or for the detriment.  We get to decide which.  I'd love to hear other people's thoughts on this.