But…back to Lucy. She’s an aspiring filmmaker who moonlights as a corpse cosmetician at a boutique funeral home in Austin, Texas. By boutique, I mean the mortuary specializes in elaborate funerals and unique presentations. A little like Christopher Walken’s mortuary in Undertaking Betty but less Star Trek and more Rocky Horror, if you get my drift. Lucy also converses with the corpses. She calls herself a facilitator because she likes to think that she eases their transition to the other side.
The book has problems. For one thing, the mystery plot is way too convoluted and for another, the reanimated corpses are nothing more than diversions. The good news is I know how to fix. I’ve tweaked Lucy’s occupation, incorporated the corpses into a simplified mystery plot and I’m integrating some mythological elements into the back story. But as excited as I am by these changes, something has been niggling at me for a while now.
So what is the deal with Lucy? Am I trying too hard to make her work? Am I now so invested in this character that I’ve lost my objectivity? Has she taken on so many of my own personality traits that I’m unable to let her be who she needs to be? Have I become one of those awful stage mothers, pushing my beloved progeny into a direction she doesn’t want to go?
Just to mix things up, I’ve considered relocating her from Austin to Savannah, but a different setting would completely alter her personality. After all, she is a product of her environment. Austin is a cool, laid back city that prides itself on its weirdness. A haven for the nonconformist. A sanctuary for misfits, hipsters and aging hippies.
This is Lucy in Austin:
Savannah is old South. Deep South. The dark, eccentric, Gothic South of folk magic, Bonaventure Cemetery and John Berendt’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.
This is Lucy in Savannah:
See what I mean? Two different characters.
So what do I do? Abandon the project? Keep trying until I find her the prefect home? How long must I listen to Lucy's voice in my head before I tune her out forever?
What do you do when a character won't leave you alone?