Sunday, September 16, 2007

Killing a beloved character

I have to kill somebody and I couldn't do it. I'm not an assassin by nature. I love the character I had to kill off and she's my hero's mentor. But I had to kill her anyway and I had the worst time with it. I wrote all last week but she wouldn't die! Finally between yesterday and today I managed to do away with the old girl.

I created a death musical playlist. No really. I needed to get into the right mental framework to do the deed. So I found some great songs like: I Believe by Diamond Rio, Tears in Heaven by Eric Clapton, and Into the West by Annie Lennox - among others. Individually those songs can choke me up - but as a group! Sheesh I was crying long before I started writing.

I'm not sure the scene is as wrenching as I wanted it to be, but I got it written. I'll just have tug at the heartstrings a bit harder when I go back and work on editing. Now if I can just handle the funeral and get her buried, I'll be in great shape!

Have you had any characters who wouldn't die? If so, how did you kill them off? Was it as painful for you as for your characters?


  1. I had to kill off the beloved dog of the main character. Perhaps if you're not a dog person, this isn't such a big deal, but I am. Plus, I based the personality of the dog off of my own dog, so killing him was even worse.

    It was horrible. I stayed in bed late, the morning I knew I'd have to write his gallant death, just thinking about previous pets and loved ones that have long since been dead and gone. So, essentially, I rendered myself completely depressed before I'd even gotten out of bed that morning.

    Then, biting back tears, I got up and started to write. All was fine until I reached the dog's heroic defense of his master (my protagonist) at which point I became an utter mess. When the bastard stabbed my poor dog and ended his life, it wasn't so bad, but the aftermath--writing my protagonist's reaction to this loss was completely awful.

    My boyfriend just couldn't understand why I was so inconsolable that whole day. I felt better after I'd gone to bed for awhile though.

  2. My kids are cats and my younger brother was a dog, so I understand completely. Losing a pet can be devastating and having to write about You're very brave to write it and I bet it was a great scene.

    Thanks for sharing, Steph.