Character down!

Ok.

This doesn’t have to be a big deal, does it?

Right. I’ll just come out and say it: I killed one of my characters.

I’m pretty sure it wasn’t my fault. I just watched it happen on the page, like a car accident in slow motion (in quite beautiful writing, I might add). I was just normally going about my twenty-something thousand words, and then… it happened. The moment I finished, I felt a bit… ill.

Please don’t tell me all the standard responses, such as: it happens; it’s a part of life; she had it coming; what are you on about, it’s just a character. None of these will bring me any comfort.

Ok, I feel a bit like an amateur when I say this, but it’s true: I had never killed a character before. Sure, I had hinted that a character was gone; in a subtle, he/she was too old to be among us kind of way, but I never, ever, made it up close and personal.

Until today.

I’m surprised at how sad it feels. I know that we can’t always save them. Sometimes they live, sometimes they die, but to stare at them in the eye and pull the metaphorical trigger is an interesting experience. Picture this: I’m not a person who’s particularly fond of confrontation. I try to be pleasant whenever I can – honest to God – to all kinds of people. Really. So to take one of my characters, which I spent a while crafting on paper and inside my head and say, you’re off to meet your maker (so to speak), is a bit of a big deal for me. I have this feeling of loss, like now all I want to do is revisit what I’ve written so far: could I save her? Was it something she said? Did I write her life really as fully as it should have been written?

As I was just about done, The Angry Chef looked at me and asked why I wasn’t ready yet. Half of my hair was blow-dried, the other half was still damp and scrunched up together with a hair clip. I was still in my bathrobe, with a guilty-looking hairdrier next to me, and my makeup wasn’t even close to done. The taxi would be here in twenty minutes, so I had to rush.

But now I just took another look and tweaked it a little; I’m now at 24,047 words. I don’t even want to think about leaving tomorrow; I’ll adjust my own challenge and say I aim to have done 25,000 words by Sunday – fingers crossed!

Thank you so much for reading, and have a good night.

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3 comments on “Character down!

  1. Ed Mercer says:

    i̶t̶ ̶h̶a̶p̶p̶e̶n̶s̶
    i̶t̶’̶s̶ ̶a̶ ̶p̶a̶r̶t̶ ̶o̶f̶ ̶l̶i̶f̶e̶
    s̶h̶e̶ ̶h̶a̶d̶ ̶i̶t̶ ̶c̶o̶m̶i̶n̶g̶

    It sucks, but life ain’t pretty. The world is too sad a place for one as beautiful as you. Let her go.

  2. Candice says:

    I’ve never killed a character before either. I’m trying to imagine how you’re feeling, and I picture it. (?) The good thing is that it happened naturally. You didn’t have to force the scene. That is one thing about death in general is that sometimes one does not live to one’s full potential. The important thing now is how will this event affect the other characters? Many people react differently to death, so how will the remaining characters in your story deal with it?

    • brightaylor says:

      Hi there! It was a very strange thing to do, because even though it was in my outline, I kept asking myself if this was really necessary. I guess because we’re so used to real life, in which all kinds of this happen (coincidences, awkward silences, and yes, death), when you’re writing you want to be able to stop bad things from happening to the characters you’ve developed and have grown to love. But I think conflict and other unsettling events are needed to get the story going, precisely because they are a part of life. Now what I’m working on is closure for the remaining characters in the story, because this character’s death opened up a can of worms.
      Thank you so much for your comments, and for always getting me to think about what’s next.

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