Welcome back to another blog hop, with #OpenBook. Here’s this week’s prompt.
How do you feel about killing off one of your major characters?
As I was writing, I knew it was coming. Then it arrived. This was the bit that I was dreading.
A while ago, I had created a character, fashioned her out of nowhere. I gave her a mind, a personality, she was like a friend as we adventured together with the rest of the cast.
As her story developed, I came to realise that she was fated to die, in order for what came next to have any real meaning. Her passing would give purpose to another character’s life, make him who he was supposed to be.
I agonised about her impending demise; how would I fashion it? Now that I knew her better, I didn’t want her to suffer, didn’t want a long, drawn-out scene with tears and angst. I knew that it would make me well up to write it, even the thought was enough to get me started.
I put it off for as long as I could, left a blank page in the document and wrote around it.
But it had to be, I think (hope) that on the day, she was blissfully unaware of what was to come. In the end, the story decided how it would happen. She placed her trust in another character to keep her safe. He based his decisions on incomplete information with the inevitable consequences. I honestly don’t know which one of us was more upset, him for putting her in danger or me as I wrote it all down. Of course, through his guilt and despair at being unable to save her and the self-loathing he felt as he blamed himself, a new man was forged.
He went on to have more adventures but his life was never the same. There was always a hole in it, which is how it should be when you lose someone important.
As you can see from what I have written above,
the simple answer to the prompt is yes. For me, It’s a terrible feeling. To all intents and purposes, the characters that populate my worlds are real. They share their lives with me and I tell you all about them. However you view my creative process, I am omnipotent in it, I have the power. And with that comes responsibility. I don’t go around slaughtering them on a whim, whether they are the hero or one of the supporting cast, the life of each one is special to me, for the reasons I’ve given. The passing of each is a source of pain, even if they only had one thing to do, even if they only occupied a page, it was important to the plot, or I would not have brought them into being.
And, having done that, it’s hard to just dispose of them.
I’ve tried other ways of removing characters from the action, by either ignoring them once their job is done; or by having them escape to live another day. It doesn’t work. Sometimes you have to do the deed, as painful as it is.
All I can do is offer them rebirth in a story of their own; set in the days when they still had breath in their bodies.
Over to you, fellow authors, let me know how you deal with this. Please leave your thoughts in the comments, then make sure that you check out the rest of the great blogs on this hop.
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