For the Blogging From A to Z Challenge I’m doing you all a huge favor and filling you in on the 26 Things To Hate About Writing.** I’m hoping by the end of April, I will have convinced all of you not to indulge in the wild insanity of becoming a writer. If I can save even one person from offering themselves up in sacrifice to the mad and fickle word gods, I will have done some good in this world.
KILLING YOUR DARLINGS
Kill your darlings! I bet you’ve heard that phrase before. I did, and didn’t realize it meant metaphorically, in your writing, so that’s why I’m writing this from inside a prison cell. I really wish language was a bit clearer.
Sometimes you can only move a story forward by killing someone (I don’t mean someone living in your house, a word of caution there) or it’s simply someone’s time to die. Sounds easy, right? I mean all you have to say is, “Then Erica fell off the building and plunged to her demise, and everyone was sad.” Easy, right? Except:
– It turns out killing a beloved character is really, really hard, even if it’s necessary. You might cry more than the reader does.
– If you kill someone, you have to do it the right way. If your pioneers have been trekking across the lonesome prairie for six months and now Jeb gets killed by a random runaway Volkswagen, that’s gonna be a little bit weird.
– You can’t just use death as a plot device, every time you get stuck in a corner. Especially if this is a sweet romance.
– Sometimes it’s hard to describe the method of death. You’ve never choked to death on a chicken finger, or know anyone who has, so it’s hard to describe it.
Killing off characters, especially ones you like, is one of the worst things about writing. I know it’s necessary, and can bring depth to a story, and may even be the exact right thing that needs to happen. It can elicit strong reactions from your readers and make them love or hate you. It’s a careful exercise that you have to execute masterfully. Eventually, a character has to go, and that’s true for a lot of us. My advice is not to act out the murder in real life for ‘research.’ It turns out the police don’t care how much of an artist you claim to be. Free Megan!
**Disclaimer: If you haven’t figured it out, these posts are pure satire and simply a humorous way to vent my writing frustrations. No offense is intended to anyone. Please, become or continue being a writer. It’s awesome, I swear. It’s super…duper, awesome…heh heh.