Every good protagonist needs a way for the reader to find them endearing. Even the worst anti-heroes, with the greyest of moral, have that one thing. Maybe they send their money back to their lovely elderly parents, or they support an orphanage in Gambia. Always on the side, of course, because it would hurt their image if everyone were to find out about it. Or sometimes it’s just that they do a job as a pillar of the community, something simple and benign.
I need something like that for Max, the main character of my new book. Zander in my last book went over great with my reading audience; he did underwater welding, and people lapped up his interesting-yet-daring choice of job. I’ve seen people here in Oakleigh who do tree removal…maybe Max could do something along those lines? He’s a manly man, and there’s a certain charm to the lumberjack type that could make him a big hit with my female audience.
Alright, that’ll be it then. Max is a tree lopper, a local boy and he’s devilishly well-liked by all. Except the bad guy. And of course, he struggles with a secret case of vertigo, and maybe a phobia of something innocuous and silly, like peanut butter. He’s not allergic to peanut butter, mind you…he just finds it very frightening, and he can’t tell his tough tree removal friends for fear of ostricization from the community.
He’s looking pretty well-rounded, I feel. So moving onto Denise, his fiancé and something of a worrywart who constantly objects to Max being in a profession where a tree branch could fall on him at any time and then he’d get amnesia and forget about their relationship and become obsessed with all the tree removal in Bentleigh forever more, and their love will be a distant memory (or not a memory at all, as the case may be).
Yep, perfect. Characters are done. Now I just need a plot…
Some foods are just so amazingly good that you can’t see why the entire day isn’t spent eating them. Like, brownies. Really well-made brownies, moist and gooey on the inside and practically 50% choc chip with maybe a dusting of salt on the top. Amazing. Social interaction is stressful, work is boring, watching TV is like sucking your soul into an event horizon and…well, hugging a really cute dog is pretty great. But I’d still rather be able to eat brownies, all the time, forever.
I may have been too hasty with the work thing as well, because the deliciousness of brownies took over my brain. I may work in an office, but the people around me are really great and actually loads of fun. We send our disaster relief to places in Melbourne, like…the non-emergency services disasters. So if you crashed your car into a tree, call an ambulance. If a tree has fallen down and someone could crash their car into it, we can summon a Melbourne tree lopper from those treehouses that they undoubtedly all live in and have them fix the problem. We have all kinds of industry connections, big and small, tree lopping and extreme weeding. Actually, come to think of it, tree removal is basically extreme weeding. Like, a plant of some sort is becoming a nuisance, so you call the tree loppers in…THEY get rid of it for you. Just like weeds. What DO these extreme weeders do, anyway? I wouldn’t know, because all we do is send people out or give them contacts. I keep getting elderly ladies calling and complaining that their gardens are overrun by some kind of super weeds and they can’t remove them themselves so we’d better send someone along, pronto. You’d be surprised how often the word ‘pronto’ crops up.
Okay, now I’m genuinely wondering where the line blurs between weeding and, like…stump removal. Melbourne offers both, but maybe they should team up. Create a super business. Less calls for me to field…more time to eat brownies.