Sunday, March 21, 2010

If You Won't Be You

I've had a scene living in my head for a while now. The context doesn't matter - the details of the story refuse to be resolved into anything coherent - but the moment remains the same:

One character is a shape shifter with identity issues. Over the course of the story so far, he's lost track of a great deal of who he is. The other is his last friend, and he's dying slowly - wounded, poisoned, sick, or all three - behind enemy lines. The shapeshifter turns to his friend and says "if you won't be you anymore, can I be you?" The dying friend chokes out a final yes, and the shapechanger takes his friend's form, his memories, and a portion of his loves and passions and builds a new self out of them.

I don't know what comes before this moment. Why is the shapechanger blessed and cursed with his power? Why is the friend dying? What is the larger shape of the plot, and how does it relate to the friend's death and the shapeshifter's situation? I also don't know what comes after, but I can imagine the amusing complications, as the shapeshifter deals with his friends family and lovers and no one knows how to deal with anyone else anymore, all against the backdrop of whatever else is going on.

It would be pretty cool... but I don't know what to do with it. The rest of the story - if there is a rest - is buried under some piece of inner detritus.

Well, they say if you love something set it free, so I'm finally cutting this scene loose. Go free into the internet, little idea. If it's meant to be, you'll come back to me some day.

Also, if you folks have any comments I'd love to hear them. Treat this as a creative prompt: what do you think comes before and after?

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