This must be what they call the pesky drafting process...
The main thing that was bugging me from the middle point of writing HAS was that I was writing it for a fic audience and, of course, I wanted to make that audience happy. You can't do that by taking huge character risks or even hinting at a challenging ending, a lot of the time. Or, it's very difficult to do so. Especially because what I was wanting to do sort of went against the character grain, making it even more difficult to justify.
HAS kind of rubbed me the wrong way because it seemed to glorify the bad choices that were made and provided an easy answer -- too easy. And yet it seemed like, throughout the whole thing, my subconscious was pushing at another angle.
So yesterday while editing it kind of hit me that I can do that now, and follow the trajectory I want the story to have. Still along the same lines, definitely, and preferably with the same "reveal" at the end, but coupling that with another reveal...
Simply put, Ian has already died somewhere along the line in the story, and the rest is Aidan's subconscious mind. The Tall Man/angel of death/whatever you wanna call him is probably a manifestation of this.
Now I just need to unpack the following before attempting a restructure of the scenes:
- Did Aidan premeditate killing Ian, whom he refers to several times in the early scenes as his "demon", seeing that as the only way to free himself? The foreshadowing of this is, imo, already there for the most part
- Were the trip to France and the hidden identities all going to be a front for that crime? *shudders*
- Was Ian then killed by the intruder who first entered the room, prompting a complete disconnect/psychological schism in Aidan's mind, in which he supplanted the desire to kill Ian with a desire to kill himself, blocking out certain facts and completely reinterpreting others, presenting his case desperately, claiming he was only thinking about his daughter but still being extremely fucking selfish?
- If this is the case, when will the truth be revealed?If I can finesse it well enough I'd like for Aidan to finally have reached acceptance at one point, by the time The Tall Man returns in the "epilogue" scene, and to mention it vaguely but definitely, the way my favorite, most subtle horror/thriller authors do. Japanese horror style, basically. Natsuo Kirino style, Otsuichi style.
It would mean rewriting a LOT of the story, but the good news is: it's a short story, anyway. And it would only mean rewriting the present-tense stuff. The story came to life in less than a month, so it's understandable, I think, that the full drafting/redrafting process take some more time. Still, I'm starting to think, with those added elements of psych horror/moral crossroads, it'll be a lot more interesting...!!! And definitely it's the sort of story I've always wanted to write.
What do you guys think about that?