Monday, November 22, 2010

Killing Off Your Character

Quote for the Week: "No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise n the reader." Robert Frost

Have you ever written a scene that brought tears to your eyes? I did, last week. I killed off one of the characters in my WIP. One of the characters that I really liked. One of my major characters, not the Protagonist, but one very important to the story. And I felt as though I'd just lost a best friend.

Do you get so wrapped up in your characters that they seem real to you? Like they're your children and you want only good things for them?

In Caves, Cannons, and Crinolines there is a scene that makes me teary eyed too. What's with me? I like humor and fun. But life isn't all humor and fun. There's sadness too, as much as I hate it. Bad stuff happens. So does good stuff.

If Mr. Frost's quote is correct, then readers will boo hoo in the right places in my story. Now to find some surprises too. I like surprises.

So how about you? Done away with any of your characters lately?

Have a super week.

14 comments:

  1. Great post, Bev. I haven't done away with any characters, but a year or so ago, I wrote a flash fiction piece based upon a photo for a contest.

    In my story, the woman had just lost her husband and went to the Outer Banks that year and stayed in a huge house on the water. This was the husband's anniversary present to her, but he died before going. That choked me up.

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  2. I'm the same way. With my last ms I did away with the romantic interest and I was depressed for days. I missed him so much.
    So I know just how you feel.

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  3. How sad, Cheryl. Yes, I can imagine that scene, the woman thinking what it would have been like had her husband been alive and with her. I imagine she shed a few tears. (Along with you.)

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  4. It's interesting how we become so attached to our characters, isn't it,Pk? What happens to them in the story seems so real. We feel the pain right along with the other characters, especially if it's someone like the romantic interest we've come to love.

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  5. Sometimes you do have to kill off a beloved character. It's never easy to do. As a writer, we become attached to our "babies". The good thing is that if you feel so strongly about the character's death, then your readers will to. I love the Frost quote. It definitely applies.

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  6. William Faulkner says to "Kill your little darlings" too. I think it's great advice. Hard to follow. But great advice, just like Frost's.

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  7. Absolutely, Kelly. And if our readers cry because of a character's demise that is good. :)

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  8. Oh, I like that, Natasha. So kill those "little darlings." Even it it hurts.

    Now, must get back to my little darlings. They're acting contrary this morning.

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  9. Your tears must be a sign of some wonderful writing, Beverly. It's always such a surprise to me when I well up while writing something--a surprise and kind of a rush too.

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  10. Oh, Bev, I know what you mean. I was bawling my eyes out when one of my favorite characters was killed. By an Irish goblin, no less!
    He was a hoot to write and I really miss the cheeky brat!

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  11. I hope you're right, C Lee. I understand about the surprise and the rush too. That's what it's all about. Now if the readers just feel that way. :)

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  12. Looking forward to meeting your characters soon, Darby. Even the Irish goblin.

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  13. Great post, Beverly. Haven't killed off any of my characters lately.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

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  14. Thanks, Susanne. I'm glad your characters are all alive and well. :)

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