In the first draft of FML, there was a goat. A tiny white goat named Falcor.
You’ve seen The NeverEnding Story…right? If not, go watch it. Now.
Anyway, I had a character named Stella and she had a tiny white goat named Falcor. She brought him to the party. I don’t know why I chose a goat. Truthfully, I think I did it to make her seem cool. Because it’s easier to give a character dimension with a goat than without. Who needs history or personality when they have a bleepin’ goat?
Of course, Stella turned into my favorite character ever. Okay, maybe I love Ben and Coop slightly more…but only slightly. Stella’s not some John Green manic pixie dream girl plopped into the story for my hero like she was ordered from a Russian mail-order bride website. She’s a real girl. Flawed, funny, real. Okay?
And I realized, she didn’t need a tiny white goat named Falcor to make her interesting. She didn’t need to quote obscure authors or pretend to be disinterested in everything or be insanely too cool for everyone else. She didn’t need a tiny white goat. She was awesome without it.
And my dog Maxx had recently died. Nobody takes tiny white goats to high school keggers, but someone might bring a dog. That might be okay.
So Falcor is just a dog. And Stella is more than a girl. The kind of girl who doesn’t need a dog or tiny white goat to make her interesting. And if you ever find yourself writing a character that needs a tiny white goat, reconsider. Trust me.
F is for Falcor, who isn’t a goat.