The High Price of Melodrama

It was sort of a “Take it Easy” day for me yesterday.  Having bumped into “I Win the Camp!” word totals the night before, I didn’t need to sit and crank out two thousand words yesterday.  I did spend a lot of time cooking in the afternoon, so the writing started late in the evening and went on even later.

A little over sixteen hundred words later I had one scene completed and another character in a bad way.  Stuff happens.  I have another scene to do today, and I know it’s going to be a long one, because–well, because.  I just know.  I also know I need to add another scene, but that will come in time.

Instead, there are things to discuss . . .

There was one of those hypothetical questions posted in the NaNo group, the kind that appear when someone who isn’t writing had a lot of time on their hands.  The question was along the lines of kid has a rich family–millionaire status, a lot more common these days–and the head of the family feels that everyone has a price, so the kid is looking for your price, and wants to know:  how much will it take to buy you to do their bidding?

There’s really no, “I need you to kill someone,” or “I want you to fix the Powerball lottery”.  No, it’s just, “What’s your price?  Everyone can be bought, so what will it cost to get you on my side?”

First off, I’m reminded of Adrian Veidt’s response to Night Owl (“Dan, I’m not a Republic Serial Villain–“), and I’m thinking that’s exactly who the character asking the question is acting.  They’re full of “Bwah, hahaha!” and short on any kind of real motivation; they come across as so two-dimensional, if they turn sideways, they’ll vanish from sight.

Sure, I’m certain there are real people out there, many with room temperature IQs, who believe anyone can be bought, that everyone has a price, and if you push hard enough you’ll find it.  But that price has to have a tag, otherwise there’s no frame of reference by which to judge the cost.  The last time a character said their daddy told them everyone has a price, and everything can be bought, they were trying to get Pee Wee Herman’s bike.

You really want to go that route, Francis?

I realize it’s only a question to get discussion going–writers seem to have a lot of spare time to answer rigged questions–but it ones of those questions that don’t make a lot of sense.  I do realize there are a lot of things that get asked that make little sense, but stating that you must state your price to join the Sith Lords without asking “What’s in it for me if I do?”, yesh:  that’s some lightweight character building right there, sort of like some of the lame-ass villains Batman has had to fight from time to time.  (At least some of them lasted more than one issue, unlike these losers.)

No, if you’re going to go over to the Dark Side, make it worth your character’s while.  I have one character who absolutely knows her price:

 

“My price?  I want to see you blow your brains out, right here, right now.  Decorate the wall with your brains, and I’ll be yours–at least until your body hits the floor.  Then I’m on my way.”

 

Never ask someone who hates pompous rich kids what their price is–they might tell you.