I have a theory: You could make any story work, as long as the main characters are complex and three-dimensional. Sure, it won’t be as good as if the plot and characters are perfectly balanced, but if I had to choose between a story with a bad plot but well-written characters or one with a great plot but badly-written characters, I’d choose the former any day of the week. (Except Tuesdays.)
So I created two characters, Adrien and Wyatt Melonsky: identical twins who hate being twins (one more than the other). Each chapter alternates between the two points of view. At the end of each chapter, there’s a poll asking the audience what they want to happen next. I sort of cheated in this one, since it’s obvious which one people will pick, but afterwards the polls get more interesting.
After the second chapter, I have absolutely no idea where the story’s going. That’s all up to you.
“I hate Wyatt,” I said, watching as he passed out a piece of gum to everyone in the front of the room. Fiona raised an eyebrow.
“But he’s your brother! You’re twin brother, no less,” Fiona said.
“That is exactly why I hate him.” I’ve had this conversation a hundred times before with a hundred different people. I knew what she was going to say before she even said it.
“I’d love to have an identical twin,” she said. No, you don’t, I almost responded. “It’ll be like having a clone best friend that I could always hang out with.”
“You’d get sick of her after a few years or so.” I said.
Fiona shrugged. “It’s still cool, having someone who looks just like you. Have you ever—”
“Tried to switch classes with him to see if the teacher notices? No.” I saw her surprised face and explained, “Everyone asks me that.”
I turned around and watched Wyatt again. He was chewing gum in his loud, sorta cow-like way, but none of his friends seemed to mind. This was first period study hall in the school cafeteria, and the teachers were too tired to discipline the students correctly. Wyatt and his friends took advantage of this.
“Have you ever thought about getting in on his gum-selling business?” asked Fiona. I first noticed she was chewing gum, and a tiny flash of annoyance swept over me.
“I don’t chew gum,” I told her. “I haven’t chewed in over eight months, and I’m not planning to anytime soon.”
“Eight months?!” she asked, eyes widened. “I could never go eight months without chewing. You have a lot of will-power, my friend. But you could still sell it.”
“I’m not risking it,” My school had a strict anti-gum policy. If you were caught giving out gum, let alone selling it, you risked a referral. And if you were selling the amount of gum Wyatt was selling, there was a good chance of a suspension.
“I heard last year he made over ten thousand dollars,” It was true. Wyatt’s illegal gum-selling business had reached seemingly impossibly high heights near the end of Freshman year. He was now officially known as the “Gum Guy” among the student body.
“Well, I don’t want to,” I said. The truth was, Wyatt wouldn’t let me anywhere near his gum. He didn’t trust me, especially after the shoplifting incident, and besides, he would no longer be the center of the attention if I started selling, and Wyatt couldn’t have that.
For the next two periods I found myself constantly being mistaken for my brother, more so than usual. Wyatt’s fault, of course; so people could tell us apart, we got our hair cut at different times. When my hair was short, his was long, and vice versa. We had mostly the same hair style and wore mostly similar clothes, so it was actually difficult to tell us apart without the hair difference. Wyatt messed everything up by getting it cut a month early.
Wyatt and I shared fourth period together, so I knew the mistakes would stop for a while. However, I would still have to deal with Wyatt, and all the stupid questions people ask twins.
When Wyatt walked in late, one kid named Sean asked, “How could one twin be on time, but not the other?” as if this was an intelligent question.
“Oh, well you see, we’re not the same person,” said Wyatt, followed by the usual laughter that followed anything Wyatt said.
At around 10:23 AM, Wyatt was called down to the principal’s office. He looked at the time and groaned. “Um… Could I go to the bathroom first?” he asked.
“Um… no,” mocked our math teacher. “You go to the principal’s office, then the bathroom. Room 121’s just right down the hall, I’m sure you could hold it in.”
“Okay, I’ll go after,” Wyatt said, not making eye contact with the teacher.
“Are you really going to go after, or are you just saying that?”
“No—I mean, yes, I’m really going to go after.”
“You are a horrible liar, Wyatt,” she said, then looked over to the student teacher. “Could you do me a favor and walk him over to the principal’s office? Just to make sure he actually goes.” The student teacher, a meek young man who hadn’t said a word since he first showed up almost a week ago, nodded and escorted Wyatt out of the classroom.
A minute later, I realized that I also had to go to the bathroom. Knowing someone would probably make an obnoxious comment, I asked anyway.
“Looks like the Melonsky twins have similar bathroom schedules,” said the kid in the back—Sean Lee, the same kid who made the comment earlier. I made a mental note as I walked past him.
*If anyone would like to help me come up with a clever title for this, that would be helpful.