When Character Development Goes Too Far
It was almost ten o'clock. William was sitting at his computer in his bedroom. He logged in under his screen name "Drake" and clicked his way to the fan fiction dot net website. Three messages were waiting for him there. Someone thought his fifth story was the best one ever, someone else wanted to sell him weight loss cream, and the last message read: "Hello Drake. You've done a wonderful job with the rest of your stories. I can't wait to read your next one! Hurry and get it finished! Love, Fishy."
Fishy was Drake's on-line love. He smiled at the message, opened a WordPad window, took a bite of his peanut butter and banana sandwich, and got to work on the next installment of "The Falcon Chronicles." Before long he was absorbed in the stories of John, Peter and Sara the adventurers.
John awoke early the next morning. He took a deep breath and the smell of smoke filled his nostrils. John leapt out of his bed on the third floor and followed the smell downstairs to his kitchen. John's wife Jane was coughing and waving the smoke out of her eyes. Something was burning on the oven. He took an oven mitt and lifted the pan off the element. Jane turned the water on in the sink and John put the smoking pan under the cool water.
Jane smiled sadly, "It was bacon and eggs," she sighed.
"It's all right dear," John smiled, "oatmeal is fine this morning."
Jane nodded and brought a box out of the cupboard. John sat at the kitchen table and opened the newspaper. Just then, there was a knock at the door. Jane wiped her hands on her apron and opened the door.
"Oh Peter it's you!" She opened the door for him. John stood up to greet him.
"No time for that John, we've got a big case to solve today. We have to leave now!"
"I'm trying to eat my breakfast here! We got back from our last mission at three in the morning, I woke up to a house fire and now we have to leave again?" John put his foot down. "Who keeps sending us all over the place?"
"It's this guy named Drake," Peter started to explain.
"Drake eh? Well, I think I have a new mission for us, let's put this Drake character out of commission. He's ruining our lives!" John smiled to Jane, his beloved wife. He knew she would be happy once they could settle down to a normal life again.
William snapped up from his writing. He stared at the screen and blinked once, and twice, the words were still there though.
"Did my story just contradict me?" He wondered aloud. William watched as the rest of the story unfolded on his screen. He quickly hunched over his keyboard and typed: "Listen to me you little characters. I am the author here. What I say goes! Now Peter and John, you two are going to the arctic and you are going to bring back the log book of the forgotten captain Frederick."
To William's astonishment Peter and John typed their responses out to him.
"We are not working for you anymore! We are our own characters! We own this mini series!"
"Yeah!" Jane piped in.
William shook his head, still hardly believing it. "Now see here," he typed, "I brought this story out of my own mind, you are all my creations, and I'm the one with the keyboard here!" He hurried to type the next part of the story where Peter and John got onto a plane and headed for the arctic. After he had sent Peter and John off there, he stayed home with Jane and her teenage daughter Sara for a while. William, being a male, did not understand mother-daughter or female relationships. This came out in his writing that night.
Sara marched down the stairs and into the kitchen. "Hello mommy! What a wonderful day it is! Let's watch the garden channel and paint each others fingernails!"
"All right sweetie pie, but let me make you some heathy, calorie-wise breakfast," Jane smiled and placed a bowl of oatmeal and fruit in front of her daughter. Both sat and ate their breakfast happily.
Just then, the phone rang in William's room. He picked it up and turned his back to the computer screen.
"Is he gone?" Sara asked.
"I think so, for now," Jane whispered.
"Oh good!" Sara pulled her V-neck sweater off to reveal a tight fitting purple strapless shirt and she took off her khaki pants to uncover her sparkly jean short shorts. "That's so much better. Drake just has no idea what young women today want to wear."
"I know, I want to get out and start my career as a lawyer, but I can't because all Drake wants me to do is stay home and cook oatmeal. I really can make some great bacon and eggs. Drake always burns them every time I try!" Jane slumped in her chair.
"Dad is so right. We need to get this Drake guy out of the picture!" Deep thought took Sara's face over.
"Idea!" Jane exclaimed, "we can kidnap his girlfriend Fishy! He would do anything for her!"
"That's such a good idea mom! Wait until Dad and Peter hear about this!"
"Shh," Jane held her finger to her lips, "I think he's coming back now."
William hung up the phone and turned back to his computer. Like almost every internet junky he didn't even look at what was written on the screen. William just continued his story. Peter and John had found the book. They brought it back to John's house for careful analysis.
"On Monday the third of September Jack Doe stayed in room five," Peter read aloud.
William's jaw dropped. "Not again!" he cried. He started typing again: "I told you people to get captain Frederick's log book! What is that?"
"The guest book from the Holiday Inn in Yellowknife," John answered.
"No!" William wrote back, "you characters are ruining my story! You're supposed to be great adventurers! Not guest book thieves!" William's hand moved for the backspace button, but Peter shouted in big capital letters.
"DON'T TOUCH THAT BUTTON!"
William froze, "Why?"
"Because we have your girlfriend hostage in our basement," Sara smiled smugly.
"Fishy?" He gasped aloud.
"Yes, Fishy," Peter laughed.
"I don't believe you," William typed, "prove it."
"All right, I will!" John opened the basement door and Fishy's words were clear on the screen in the size ten, black, bold, ariel font she uses in all chat rooms.
"Help me Drake! Give them what they want! They're crazy!"
"Okay!" William typed. He knew when he was defeated. "I will leave you alone from now on. Now let Fishy go, please."
John went downstairs and untied Fishy. They let her leave through the front door.
"Now close this window and do not save," Peter commanded.
William set his jaw and moved the mouse arrow to the big X in the corner. He clicked it. A box appeared in the middle of the screen asking "Save changes to Document?" The "No" button clicked itself and the entire messy business disappeared from William's computer forever.
That is what happens when you let your character development go too far.