Killing Your Own Characters

As is probably readily apparent to everyone due to lack of blog posts on here, my life has been a whirlwind. Aside from the launch of my second blog Luna Elise, which features my fashion addiction, my personal life has pretty much demanded the majority of my time. I can’t say I’m complaining–I’m probably having way too much fun, but the writing has taken a hit for sure.

This used to bother me more than it does now. I have grown to the point as an author where I understand no one is going to strike you down with wrath if you don’t finish one chapter per day. I will admit, I’m still finding that balance, but I find that not leaving room for burnout to creep in lets the ideas flow more freely. Plus, it allows for more strategic planning which is a crucial step in the final stages of a trilogy.

These final stages have me asking some big questions, and thinking things through before writing. For once, I find myself weighing alternatives and unable to decide what is best for the story. This is very different to my usual “word vomit” method of writing whatever comes banging out of my mind. Right now, one of the biggest decisions I am struggling with is whether or not to kill off one of my secondary characters. Morbid, I know, but it is a post-apocalyptic story. I feel like it could use a little more darkness right now.

However, this character I am considering offing is undeniably a figure of light in the books. I think I like this secondary character more than my main characters! You always hear stories of authors literally crying as they write in the death of a favorite character (I think this happened with J.K. Rowling and Fred Weasley, but I could be just making that up entirely!). I understand sometimes it needs to happen for dramatic effect, but I don’t want the dramatic effect to be overridden by the anger I am sure readers will feel. This is the equivalent of Gandalf falling to the balrog but not coming back–this character will be missed!

Ultimately, I think it comes down to whether the character will be of importance or useful to the story as it plays out. There is a potential conflict that could use this character, but that also could be omitted. You can see the back and forth is very prevalent right now. I can’t make any decisions as of now! Perhaps this hesitation is my writerly subconscious screaming at me not to kill the character (yet anyway).

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