So I've been thinking a bit about my current writing project. My protag's life story is starting to come together quite nicely, but I'm still not sure how it will ultimately be presented. Not being a big reader of books without some speculative element, I'm probably not well placed to start writing one. So the question remains: how to include a speculative element so that I can write the story in my preferred genre?
Some vague possibilities have occurred:
The futuristic sci-fi version
In Star Trek: Nemesis, Picard meets a younger, more evil Picard, a clone created some time in the past. Watching this recently made me wonder - what if you found you had been cloned, there was another you wandering around? What if the clone had the same character flaws and weaknesses as you, but instead of choosing to resist whatever temptation this led to, chose the easy route and embraced his dark side? What happens when the two meet?
It doesn't have to be a clone, of course; the evil twin could be from a parallel universe, or the result of a time-travel experiment gone wrong. Or a 'transporter malfunction' as happened to Kirk in Star Trek. Or some mystic force such as might be found in the Buffyverse.
We could also copnsider the possibility that it isn't a physical twin, but some kind of Jekyll & Hyde complex.
The Urban Fantasy version
One potential telling of this tale always had a hint of Angel to it. I may have struck upon an idea that adds a twist to that; although, I suspect it's probably been done before, though possibly less often than the evil twin story.
If you could wish your problems away, would you? Maybe one mistake, one bad decision, that you could have excised from your life, along with all the baggage that followed it. An addiction, or a period of illness, completely removed from your personal timeline. Sounds tempting, on the surface. But in losing the bad stuff, you lose the good that inevitably comes from it: all that you learn, the ways you become a stronger person. The people you could help when they find themselves in the same situation.
That is the central dilemma in this telling of the story. Our protag meets some kind of entity with the ability to remove the darkness of his past. Presumably this entity would, effectively, have lived through the darkest chapters of our hero's life, and be left with the emotional baggage that followed.
In taking on the ills of the world, this entity becomes a sort of Christ-figure, albeit probably a very dark one. I think he has potential for exploration - is he really a Christ-figure, or is he just removing the negative so that the positive results also disappear?
Or have I just stumbled across my next project?