I am a mean writer.
There’s no nicer way to put it. Character slayer? Torturer? Fickle saver of lives only to turn around and let them die? Murderer of innocent by-standers? Protagonist mutilator?
If my characters press charges, I’m going on a one-way-trip behind authorly-bars. So far, they haven’t rioted on me. Except for that one time, when a much loved character ended up on the wrong side of a crossbow bolt and —
But I shouldn’t go there.
It’s not always my fault though, not directly anyway. My characters die on me. I’m not kidding. I don’t have moments of careful plotting, of deciding who should go, the hows and whys and whens. It just happens. (Unlike finding names, which takes agonizing months.) One day my characters are teeming through my dark and sinister fantasy world and the next —
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not unnecessarily malicious (hear that, mime?). When a character dies, it’s for a reason.
To give room for another character to grow.
To raise the stakes of an impossible situation.
To make my readers cry. (Oops, shouldn’t have let that reason out.)
To advance the plot.
But lots of bad things happen to them. That’s what writing is all about, eh? No one wants to read about a badger who dances in a fairy field of purple flowers and eats rainbow icicles (unless maybe you’re two. But even then, my nephew enjoys crashing his trains more then building track. Ah, yeah, well, he’s my nephew after all.)
Mime is the one who argues for my characters lives. I think, if I’m ever feeling in a generous mood, I might let them know that and they will thank mime for decades after. If they live that long.
I do a mean death. And a mean prison. I am the queen of prisons (should I be admitting this?). My battles aren’t nefariously boring and they do vary from book to book. I mean, come on! After seven fantasy books, you have to write varied battles or you go a little bonkers behind the keyboard.
|Truly. I do ask this.|
But there are downsides.
If you’re a character-killer (it’s like serial killer, just…with…fictional beings) like me, you end up finding yourself losing all those you’ve cultivating into worthy bearers of the plot. And then what?
I might severe the life-strings of a character my readers will come to know and love, but I’m not very good at bringing in new ones.
Unless they present themselves to me with name, ID card, background story and picture, I am swamped.
So, my characters play hard to get, easy to terminate, and I sometimes get the feeling I am a very sinister person to have behind the keyboard of their story. I hope they don’t revolt.
Now I shall share some of the varied deaths (but not the names of who received them or no one will ever read my books) and mortal inflictions my characters receive.
So how do you handle your characterly deaths? Easy? Hard? Are you notorious or a big softie?