A Proper Story

So this was it?

He looked around, even though there was not that much to see. He’d been the protagonist in a few of this author’s stories before. He had a fair idea of how it would begin. He knew he would more than likely survive, and get the girl too. This author was not one of those who arbitrarily killed off main characters, just to keep the readers unbalanced.

Although, this one did sometimes like to play with the literary conventions, even at times get a little avant-garde and experimental. But most of those experiments never saw the light of publication. He’d be safe at the next Protagonist’s Annual Ball. There’d be no mockery about him turning into an insect or a breast, or anything like that. For heroes, protagonists, a story could be cruel sometimes. But maybe that was the nature of the job, facing almost certain death several times in a few hundred pages or so, would tend to make the most resolute and determined central character a bit… edgy, at times. And most of them had character arcs to deal with too. Changing from a weak, ineffectual wimp to the strong man who takes on the might of the world’s governments and the mightiest multinational corporations in a fight to the death was always going to make you a bit….

Well, there was talk about how a few of the more dynamic leading characters struggled with drink and drugs and other destructive behaviours, and that was before some writer plucked them out of the ether to play the central role in their latest tense, nail-biting drama.

Sometimes, he wished he had an author who was perhaps a little more literary, someone who cared less about dramatic plots, but instead would let him grow as a fully-rounded character with depth and facets.

But, on the other hand, thrillers and the fast, action-packed adventures did tend to have better sex with often less complicated female leads.

Although, occasionally while he was waiting for the author to put him back into peril, he did have these notions, ideas, and dreams. Fantasies about being pitted against some black leather-clad female supervillain who would strip him naked and chain him up in her dungeon basement.

But, anyway, he looked around. This author was always slow with the descriptions. There wasn’t much here beyond the blank page. That would come, he supposed. After all, this was only the first draft. Often the readers didn’t realise just how much changed between these first drafts and the finished book. For example, this bland office he was standing in now, could in the next draft be modified to some exotic foreign location, perhaps some Asian airport or city centre, sweltering in the heat as a tropical storm approached.

But maybe not.

This author felt a bit guilty about his working class roots, he tended to go more for the gritty realism, the down at heel. This protagonist was more likely to be an alcoholic failed private detective, in some faded and long-past-its-prime British seaside resort, who finds his partner washed up on the beach in mysterious circumstances.

He looked around the office. It was certainly dull. He just hoped that this was not going to be another of those literary experiments that faded out into the inconsequential after a handful of pages and then left forgotten in some random folder on the hard drive.

Then the office exploded.

The blast hurled him backwards through the window entangled in the blind as he fell to the ground bruised and bloody.

‘Great,’ he thought as he lay there bleeding, waiting for the female lead to come to his aid. ‘A proper story.’

Published by David Hadley

A Bloke. Occasionally points at ducks.

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