Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Help Choose My Own Adventure

"I, Death" Plot Twist Spoiler Alert - For any readers of my blog who also happen to be following my serial thriller, "I, Death" please note that I'm about to reveal a minor forthcoming twist to the plot. If you'd rather not find out here, but instead read the result in the fictitious world of Peter O'Mallick, then by all means, stop reading here. And have a nice day. Hey wait a minute, you're still reading. It's tough to stop, isn't it? Especially when you get teased about a reveal that's coming up.

Something pretty bad, pretty nasty just happened to Peter O'Mallick that he alludes to on his May 14th post. He's not able to talk about it yet because he's pretty overwhelmed. But I'll let you in on a little secret. It concerns Mr. Robinson, the replacement English teacher that Peter affectionately refers to as Robbie.

In my lead up to this recent development, I had a few plot options in mind. And normally, I let the characters themselves work these things out, decide for me how things are going to turn. But I thought I would take advantage of a unique opportunity and solicit feedback from readers on which of two paths I should take in this tale. (Blame it on my love for the "Choose Your Own Adventure" books when I was younger)

So here comes the spoiler plot reveal and the question:

Mr. Robertson is dead. What I know for sure is that it happened in the wee hours of the morning on Sunday May 14th. But how specifically did he die? I have two possible ways that can both be tied back to foreshadowing and character elements I'd built into Robbie's character over the past month or so. I built both in because when I first introduced Robbie, I had imagined him as an evil bad guy masquerading as a nice guy. But then he grew on me, and I really liked him, looked up to him -- he became an amagamation of all my favourite teachers over the years, so I started to waver. Robbie started to convince me that he actually was a good guy after all. I don't know what to believe any more. Is he lying to me the way I imagined he was lying to Peter? And this is where I need your help:

Is Robbie a bad guy who died a deserved death?
Is Robbie a good guy who died a hero's death?

That's the question. I'll end up writing the storyline based on feedback from readers, and I'll take anything from a simple vote of "good guy" or "bad guy" to a detailed character analysis on why Robbie couldn't possibly be a bad guy or why he's such a wonderful hero. You can email your comments directly to me at mark (at) markleslie (dot) ca, leave your comment here, which you can do anonymously, or discuss it via the DeathReaders forum at

I'm certainly looking forward to people's thoughts on this.


Franny said...

OMG I am so excited! I loved Choose Your Own Adventures, but I always cheated by peeking ahead to make sure it wasn't the wrong choice! (I did this with those hardcore fantasy Dungeon Quest(?)books too...what can I say, I hate to lose/being slowly digested by a manticore for a painful eternity...)

Ok, so here is the dilemma: I want the seeping horror to continue in this story, but is that better accomplished via Good Robbie or Bad Robbie? And if Robbie is a martyr, then *I think* that will be a delicious direction to take Peter. *I think*.


Ok - so my vote is for poor Robbie the hero. *sniffle* he was such a good man
Yes, I am taking a chance on the pathos here.

Rainypete said...

I'm with Frannie on this one. It would be an interesting twist if Robbie died with a purpose. To die as a hero will throw Peter for a delightfully rattling loop. But that's just my two cents (1.8 cents USD)

Anonymous said...

I'm gonna have to go against the grain on this one...let me just state for the record that I too like the character of Robbie. And I deliberated on this question as if I was the author who had to choose.

But my reason is really simple: Robbie is too good. He's too compassionate, too open, too honest. There are no flaws. You can't have a well rounded character without a flaw. It doesn't have to be big, but let's face it, no one's perfect, even the teachers like Robbie that inspired us so much in school. Everyone has private lives and private lives usually have at least one mess swept under the bed. If Robbie cannot live to deal with it, then I believe he should die for it. He should die to be human.

Zephyr said...

Robbie seems to be the one thing that is sane in Peter's life. I know it's a horror story, but I sort of think every horror story needs ONE bit of sanity. That he has to die is bad enough; let him die a hero.