Decisions Decisions




How to decide where to go in the story.

Right now, I’m deciding whether or not to kill off a  main character at the end of Act 1.
Unlike a lot of MC killings, this one won’t change the bulk of the book, I think.
He was going to be out of the picture for 75% of the book anyway.
It just changes the potential ending.

What’s the upside to this? Anyway just write the thing and see where it goes.
There is no need to get all bent into whatever shape by having to decide right at this moment and deciding something that doesn’t actually happen until 10 chapters or so into the book.

I think that this not an uncommon problem, though.
Authors must have to make the decision to kill off beloved characters all the time.
Often, the decision comes about in second draft or so where you see that the action just benefits from the death of a character or that there really isn’t any room for them past a certain point.
However, when you’ve spend an awful long time crafting their personality, it can be a bit of a tug on your heartstrings to type out the words that spell their demise.
However, you have to do it. If you are going to be honest to life, you will have to face and write about death.

In my book, the person dying is at the end of a pretty full, long life.
How writers summon the courage to write about the death of a child is beyond me.
Yet they do.
And one day, I’m sure, in my writing I will have to tackle that most taboo of acts.
I think the most honest thing you can do as a writer is to create characters that are multi-faceted and realistic and people that are recognizable as people.
Then don’t be afraid to kill them, because fear of killing off characters that you like is a sign that you don’t trust your instincts or skill as a writer.
It’s as if you are saying “I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to create a character like this again.”
And you will. In fact, by killing off characters you give yourself permission to experiment with characterization, by saying “If this doesn’t work out, I’m not stuck with this person or situation”
In fact, and I just thought of this…..
Take a character you like…and kill them.
Take a section of whatever you are working on, a book, short story, whatever.
Kill one of the characters.
See how it affects the world around them.
You don’t have to include this in your story, unless you want to or think that it’s a direction you wish to continue in.
It’s just a writing exercise in having characters react to a death.
Be brave.
Good writing is courageous and takes chances, in the belief that the writer will learn from the experience and strengthen as a writer.

The point is to get something down and not worry about things.


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