As I said in my last few posts, my first idea with what Aaron gave me was to make it extremely silly. What Aaron left me with lends itself amazingly well to a Python-esque skit, really. Aaron had thought that it would be simple: make the vicar some sort of loony. But my initial reaction was the exact opposite: make everyone else complete loonies.
There is a whole slew of characters: the mother (introduced), the vicar (introduced), Mr. Morgan and his niece Olivia (introduced), Isaac and his sister (introduced), and then another four or five that are referenced: the older brothers, the father, and I think there might be one more. That’s alot of insanity. And almost immediately I had a fear: I don’t want this just to turn into a David Ives play.
So how to avoid it? Well, first, I had to think of WHY the vicar would be coming. When Aaron mentioned that this was something of a period piece – I think he said it was early 1900s in his head (the words themselves don’t lend themselves to any given time period) – I decided to go at it with that mindset. And why would a vicar in those times make a house call? Not just for dinner, no. I imagined it being at first for a seance. But really, I don’t think Christian religious figures ever did seances. So then I thought: exorcism.
I’ve subsequently done a frightening amount of research on the history of exorcisms to find out how/why they might have been done around 1870-1930 (the general time period from which I wanted to pick). And I found out that there was a doctor who used electro-shock therapy on patients’ brains and spinal columns to try to rid spirits. He even made his own machine – the Wimhurst. Coincidentally, in the book I just finished about the sleeping sickness epidemic of the 1920s-1930s (Asleep), one prominent doctor/patient actually had this done to him as a possible cure. Holy crap! What are the odds that I’d stumble across that WHILE reading a book that was indirectly also about that?
Now I got WHY they’re all there, and I’ve thought up some deliciously ridiculous personalities for the family members. Hell, I even have an ending. (Let’s just say that, unless things change, there WILL be a spirit excised from someone – someone probably not yet even mentioned). Now all I have to do is actually sit down and write the damn thing.