November 1st

I've been throwing ideas around. As per the purpose of this journal, I'm jotting them down as I tend to talk things out first, then think Gee, I need to remember that and then utterly fail to do so because I don't keep any sort of record. My memory is not nearly as sharp as it once was. In fact, the phrase sharp as a sack of wet mice comes to mind, but I digress...

Michael's an agent of change. I'm sure there's some fancy-pants Jungian name for that, but I don't care. Michael is a control freak, a psychopath - albeit in the movie-sense of the word - and has shades of Iago when it comes to motivations. Evil doesn't need much of a reason, really. It just is.

Michael gets his jollies as an agent of change. Change can take many forms. He'll pick and choose his projects with care, and tries to think three steps ahead. Unlike real-world nutcases, Michael can and does consider the possibility of being held accountable for his actions, and thus one of his little games is being played with that eventually in mind - namely his clandestine affair with a homicide detective. Michael has certainly changed Ross's life, quite a bit.

A relationship between Ross and Michael answers a few questions, fills in a few gaps. Ross is in the unenviable position of being stuck in the closet in the midst of a major city's police force (locale TBD, I'm leaning towards NYC or Chicago, at this point) and Michael provides both physical and emotional solace, even if he is laughing up his sleeve the entire time. Sympathy for Ross is in place - well it is in my mind and to hell with those in Peoria who can't feel bad for a person in Ross's situation - as well as a plausible-enough reason as to why they're together/why Michael has taken an interest. Any case that goes to trial can be neatly sunk by a well-time revelation from the defense - mistrial, at the very least. No, Michael wouldn't be so crass as to try to divert any investigation before any time in court occurs. Let everyone get thoroughly mired and then torpedo everyone below the waterline. Michael is not a nice person and has an equally not-nice idea of what constitutes fun.

Well and good. What the hell happened to Patricia? How are she and Michael to know each other, how can he be her agent of change?

Patricia is about anger, frustration at lack of control in an environment in which she is perceived as being the one in charge. But, as she states in what I've written before, she's not exerted much control in her life at all. Her major life decisions were made at the behest of parents, mentors and peers. That's her fault - but I doubt she's going to admit that any time soon.

So what can Michael give her? Real control? Not over himself, given his own control freakish nature. Although I could certain envision him topping from the bottom, as the saying goes. Validation for her feelings? Who the hell cares? Right now, there's a real lack of empathy for Trisha going on. Poor little wunderkind isn't happy with being a well-paid, highly-skilled professional with a life that most of us would envy. That's what needs fixing. She's got a head full of bad wiring - as illustrated by her increasingly violent imagination - but that's not something that's going to engage the audience. Who gives a shit, right? That is a key question to answer as I kick these three around.

Right now, I think that the Ross/Michael relationship is more engaging. Heck, maybe I'll just write about that. But it would probably just get all angsty and strange - and not in a good way.

But I've still got questions about Patricia that have to be answered if she's going to remain viable. A simple soft spot for the kiddies isn't going to suffice for winning a reader over to her. However, it can't be overdone, either. I want her to be the evoker of conflicted feelings. Michael is of the love-to-hate sort - overdone, yes, but a viable literary device, non? Besides, this is entertainment, not the Great American Character Study. Patricia is the Edge of the working title. She can go either way, and there's going to be Michael on one side and - eventually - Ross on the other. But at the moment, the 'edge' is so ill-defined as to be non-existant.

On the dark side, I've got a start with the Huxhold hallucination in the OR, and with her teasing behavior in the bar. That's the bad stuff. The good stuff is sort-of touched on with the willingness to reconstruct an uninsured kid's face but it's just not striking me as sufficient - and it's a bit twee, too. I need to dig down a little deeper into Trish and find her more likable bits - bits that can be made apparent without the use of a sledgehammer. What sort of positive traits do deeply repressed people have, anyway? A neat streak and punctuality aren't going to suffice, y'know?

Patricia is generous - in her way - with her time and skill. She's skilled enough to be in LA commanding top-dollar from vanity-riddled celebrities, but she prefers to work in a city that she considers somewhat more grounded in the real world - in so far as such places are in Movieland. She doesn't want to be surgeon-to-the-stars, but that's not humility at work. Such people are high maintenance and Trish is a little short on the milk of human kindness. And see, we're right back to the negative, again.

Patricia is also smart, well-organized, possessed of a very dry sense of humor - even if it's rarely used - and has a well-tuned appreciation for human beauty. She likes to 'improve' things - an offshoot of her career choice - and tends to be a little overgenerous with the helpful advice. She can be thoughtless when dispensing her little pearls of wisdom, although it's never (consciously*) malicious. She's willing to take the time to teach those who want to learn about whatever-it-is - from new procedures to how the appointment booking software works. She's reserved, but not unfriendly - at least, not at first.

Does she have any sort of joie de vivre? I doubt it. She's content, most days, but not hysterically happy - but who is? Another shortcoming: she's not looking to the future. As far as she can tell, her current situation is the future she always envisioned. Moving beyond this point - professionally, personally - never occurred to her. And since she has relinquished decision making to others for so long (see above) it's hard for her to even recognize the need to exert control, let alone be able to do so. This would tie in with her teasing behavior at the meat market. It may even be a source of conflict for her rather than (as was initially envisioned) pure spite. She's playing get-away/closer games and knows it, but doesn't know how to stop, or how to change.

Change. There it is again, and Michael is the agent of change. Maybe I need to reassess exactly how he's going to change Patricia. I've long since acknowledged that I need to let go of the original inspiration for all this, so maybe I need to drop the whole Trisha-as-sadist thing, too. Ouch, I think gnawing off my own left arm would be easier - which is probably a sign that I need to do it...

Well, as I said, I could envision Michael granting Trisha the illusion of control over him - microcosm is better than nothing - but, of course, he's the one who can make it all stop, so he's the real boss of the situation - emotionally and physically.

I don't think this story is going to have a happy ending. But I need to figure out the middle, first! Getting all this down has helped, though. I've got a more solid idea of what the start is. I think I can start freewriting and see where my whimsy takes me.

*Encountering Patricia's unconscious malicious impulses is part of what Michael's all about.

*splat*