I'm sure no one wants to see how a writer actually works this sort of business out in their head onto paper (I'd imagine it really is like seeing sausage or law made), but I'm going to do it anyway.
So when I had my last reading of A DEATH IN THE FAMILY at Reston Community Players through their New Play Project (which I HIGHLY recommend to ANY playwright wanting to see their work shopped with caring, loving people--New Play Project at Reston Community Players), I got a bit of advice about one of the characters that I was all prepared to listen to and just ignore, but now I am having second thoughts.
The advice involved a character, Minda, who is a goth who also happens to be pagan. The questions mainly revolved around how possibly offended people who are actual pagan might be considering that Minda is a goth and a pagan, and the two don't HAVE to go together. Minda uses two actual blessings in the play, both of which I wrote after doing research into pagan religions in general, and I really love them. They turned out really well. The first reading, the actor playing Minda played the prayers straight. The second time, not so much. I am not making a judgment call on choices; either is fine. The only problem with it IS that the other characters are very much caricatures and I don't want to play it off like I don't have respect for the religions involved. It's the characters that I'm making fun of.
Sooooooo, now what remains is what do I do with Minda? I don't want to eliminate her blessings because I worked very hard on them, but I also acknowledge the fact that I might have played her a bit straighter than I should have. This may end up being filed under 'kill your darlings' later on, but for now, I am struggling with it. I could play it a bit more caricature, but the problem is that it could wander into the land of 'satanic', which is exactly where I don't want it to go. I guess I need to focus on making Minda more ridiculous and what to do with the blessing.
Hmmm, I really thought this might help, but at this moment, I don't think it did much more than serve to make me feel more conflicted and confused about what to do.
Welcome to my editing process. It's a great time.