What was your favorite scene to write?
Mike Chen: My favorite scene to write was actually cut.
In the original draft, Heather does not die of cancer early in act 2. Instead, she lives and remarries and Miranda struggles with integrating that new life into her own — and Kin battles with the idea that the life they built together now belongs to someone else (a man named Carter who is a big Deep Space Nine fan). In the original version, Heather is dying of cancer when Kin and Penny go to rescue Miranda. She is in a hospice care when she is reunited with Kin and they have really great dialogue together.
That scene, by the way, was influenced by a scene in the Doctor Who episode “Blink.”
Ultimately, my editor felt like that subplot had too much happening off screen—a lot of it was Miranda telling Kin the details via email, so it was very passive. My editor said that we either had to cut it or make it bigger. The logical thing to do was cut it and kill Heather, which also made Miranda’s spiral seem more realistic. But it did result in me removing that scene, though there’s a replacement scene at the graveyard that I feel still gives the type of emotional closure Heather deserves. It just doesn’t have the witty banter that Kin and Heather thrived on.