Thursday, May 5, 2016

I Like You. Still Killing You

My post today is about killing off a character in a book series.

I have received emails from readers {hint: I love getting reader mails} asking me why or even harshly chiding me for killing a character in one of the Julian books. The chiding ones usually come about when a reader really enjoyed or felt an affinity towards to ‘recently deceased’ character. Contrary to what some tell me in their emails I am not cruel or heartless. I swear I do not kill wantonly. So I welcome this chance to really address this issue.

I really dislike it when I am compelled to murder or mutilate or whatever to any character in my books. When I write, my imagination conjures up these “persons” in my head. They live and breathe in my imagination. They are, I assure you, fully formed people for me. 

Killing any of them off is never easy especially as, quite often, they are the ones that are the most sympathetic or humorous. To be fair those are the ones that usually get the axe since readers would shrug off the dispatching of an unsympathetic one. My view is that any death should affect the reader or else it’s a gratuitous event. It makes no sense to kill someone in your story if the reader doesn’t care about their demise. 

I can also state that I never kill just to kill. If someone must die it is done to lend necessary drama and/or create a critical point of horror for the storyline. It is a death that is integral in moving the tale towards its conclusion. It contributes to the construction of the vital ambience of the world I am creating in my series. I do it for the reader’s ultimate enjoyment. At least that is my goal. 

Having said the above, I confess that, on a rare occasion, I’ve paused to reconsider my plan to dispatch a character. This occurs when I find I like that “person” too much to say goodbye. In one or two cases I even saved the character at the last moment. I try not to become that invested since it then requires me to go back to “adjust” whole sections of the plotline to accommodate my mercy. But, I have done it. J

So there you have it. My explanation of why I do it. I totally understand when you are mad at me about it. I anguish over their deaths too but I will still snuff them. I mean you cannot have a mystery series where everyone lives and no one is ever in danger of death, right.:)

Please feel free to write to me to comment on my posts or ask about my books etc.

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