Whatever your political affiliations, if you live in the UK you're probably in something of a state of shock. Before the election last week I don't know many people who foresaw the conclusion: a cross-party coalition that draws Right and Left together? Barmy! But there's a lesson in this for fiction writers.
Sometimes, just sometimes, it's alright to team up with the bad guy.
I like most of my characters. I think they share a lot of my potentially OTT values and self-righteous ideas which can mean I fence myself into implausible plot scenarios. Alright, in general my characters are moral but if faced with big choices would they really make the right one?
My personal opinions on the new political coalition aside, no one can doubt the difficult decision Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg had to make. Sell himself (as it was seen by many critics) to the Conservative party for a few hollow promises or try to align himself with the failing Labour party? Either way he was going to lose some popularity.
As it is with your fictional creations.
My latest project involves a bomb threat and a woman trying to do the right thing in a difficult situation. The thing is, as much as I want her to be moral and stand up for her beliefs (and as much as she does), there has to be a point where she wants to side with the bad guy, so to speak. If someone offers you life over death even the most moral amongst us will consider it.
Will readers respect her for making the perceived 'wrong' choice? No. But she may have to, if only to appease that problematic thing called being true to your character.
It remains to be seen what a Conservative/Liberal coalition means for British politics. But I'm taking heart in the fact I've managed to pull one lesson for myself out of this mess.