Friday, February 20, 2009

Yet Another B3 Ending

About half an hour ago (as I was moving the sheets from the washer to the drier), I got to thinking yet again about the ending to This World We Live In. You may recall I wrote an ending on Friday, then decided it wasn't strong enough and wrote another ending on Saturday.

Something about wet sheets made me think about my original plan for the ending of B3- Charlie not merely dying, but being killed by one of the other characters, and Miranda choosing not to know who did it. The Saturday ending simply has Charlie dying (on Friday, Charlie lived).

I remembered that I wanted Charlie's death to be a mercy killing because I wanted something complicated to end the book with, a debatable moral issue.

So as I moved the sheets to the drier, I considered changing the ending yet again. As of the moment, Charlie is crushed to death as he tries to get out of Mrs. Nesbitt's demolished by the tornado house. Dad declares that Charlie died immediately.But what if Charlie doesn't die immediately? What if he's only partially crushed and is crying out (as I originally planned for him to do), Let me die! Let me die!In an earlier part of the book, Miranda and Alex come across a houseful of food, and a shotgun. Miranda is the last person to carry the shotgun, which means it stayed in her house.

So now I'm thinking Charlie's lying there in agony and (hold onto your hats), Mom goes back to the house, gets the shotgun, and kills Charlie with it.Talk about moral ambiguity!

The other possible shooters are pretty much anybody but Alex (who's still semi-conscious). But I can't see Julie leaving Alex's side, Matt, Miranda, or Jon caring enough about Charlie to put him out of his misery, Dad leaving Lisa (who has just escaped also), Lisa, who most likely wants only to be with baby Gabriel again and Syl. But Syl, who Jon and Miranda regard as responsible for Horton's death, is too obvious a choice. Which Mom certainly is not.

So that's where things are at this moment. The idea is less than an hour old, and I'm not going to do any rewrites until next week at the earliest, so I have time to consider and reconsider. There's an old Hollywood rule that if you establish there's a gun early in a movie, at some point later in the movie that gun will get used, and I don't like following cliche rules, so I'm not crazy about the shotgun being mentioned and then a hundred or so pages later being used.

But I do love the image of Mom (Mom!) shooting poor Charlie's brains out. And since this blog is all about process, I figured I'd let you know where the process was taking me.

And now I'll fold the sheets.