There is a restaurant at the end of the universe. Yes, at the end. Outside of the universe. If you have trouble with this concept, I offer up this explanation:
Rory: What is this place? The Scrapyard at the End of the Universe?
The Doctor: Not end of. Outside of.
Rory: How can we be outside the Universe? The Universe is everything.
The Doctor: Imagine a great big soap bubble with one of those tiny little bubbles on the outside.
The Doctor: Well, it’s nothing like that. [Doctor Who Series 6: “The Doctor’s Wife.” Written by Neil Gaiman.]
Now then. This restaurant has been referenced in several shows (Stargate and HG2G, for example), almost as a sort of in-joke among authors. This brings me to my next point.
Authors are regularly cruel to characters. It’s a part of our job description. We’re forced to injure and create miserable darlings who cause our innocent little readers great pain, misery and tears.
Actually, if I were to generalize, I would say that most of us enjoy it to some extent. Allow me to quote the excellent Mirriam Neal from Thoughts of a Shieldmaiden:
“With other people’s characters: OH YOU POOR BABY, COME HERE LET ME LOVE YOU I WILL NEVER LET ANYONE HARM YOU POOR THING SHHH DON’T CRY YOU’RE SAFE NOW.
With your own characters: His family is dead, his lover has left him, he’s barely recovered from a fatal disease, he’s been tortured in front of his best friend, kept barely alive inside a dungeon, and has just had his arm torn off.
Let’s stab him.”
This apt description isn’t to say we author don’t feel for our characters, though. I have a new
victim chap in my newest project, Bridled, who I weep for, so please don’t decide that I’m completely heartless. In an endeavor to prove this fact, I have a proposition.
We need a teahouse. A teahouse at the end of the story, where all the characters can go and drink tea (or coffee, if they are
brainwashed so inclined) and rest. And authors could write nice little fanfics and poems about their favorite characters to whose fanclubs they belong, and nice people who care would work there. You could stand by with band-aids and coconut ice cream after a traumatic scene. For instance, I could sit my new chap I mentioned earlier down with a cuppa peppermint tea and a heart specialist and his daughter like the poor fellow so desperately needs. And think! Your characters could talk to other characters who can sympathize and other authors who want to be nice and baby them, and you have a form of appeasement to give your readers. Everybody lives! Plus, the potential for crossovers abounds!
Who would you send to the teahouse at the end of the story, and who would they talk to?