A to Z Challenge 2013

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Oh My God, She's Dead!

No, I'm not talking about my novel. That, thankfully is very much alive. What I am talking about however, is my MC's mother.

I've never killed off a character before. Of course, I am not as experienced as so many of you out there, nor do I have a vast library of successful and unsuccessful novels. But this experience is truly odd.

I suppose what makes it most odd is the fact that I had not intended for her to die (at least I don't think so). I was sitting there writing away on Chapter 3, the MC and the mother were in conflict (as they often are), and then some time later she's lying dead on the floor. As I finished typing the last sentence of that particular scene, it hit me. Holy cow. I just killed her.

Now don't get me wrong; the death of the mother actually does work well within the framework of the story. And as a catalyst to get the MC moving, it's perfect. It just surprised me, as if I really weren't the one typing the words but instead were strapped to a chair while my muse played havoc with my WiP.

I'm okay now. I've become accustomed to the idea of her demise, which is why I can relate it to you all now. There is a method to my muse's madness, despite the fact that sometimes I think he's the grand ol' Wiz working behind a curtain. I've been able to continue the story beyond this woman's death, and I am sure that with editing, the scene will be quite memorable. The shock of the moment however, will probably always linger in the back of my mind.

Oh, and on the positive side (not that this is negative really) I have already exceeded my daily goal of 1700 words per day. I am supposed to be at 8500 words by the end of tomorrow, and after today's work, I'm already at 8798. If I manage to keep up this pace all month, I figure I may even exceed the 50K goal by a good 10K margin. It's great to be ahead, but I'm not slowing down no matter what. This is so much fun, I can't really describe it. I don't think I've ever had so much fun "forcing" myself to write.

So back on to the topic I started with, have any of you ever killed off a character? How did it feel to take your first "virtual life"?


jjdebenedictis said...


I actually killed off a character just last night. Mind you, this WIP's jam-packed with murder.

My first character death (in my previous book) actually made me sniffly because she was the protagonist's sidekick throughout the novel as well as a strong and lively character. Her death was meant to be a kick in the teeth--and I don't know if it hits the reader like that, but it sure whacked me, her "mom", hard.

Wendy Sparrow said...

I've killed before, and I'll kill again.

However, it does sometimes jar me when I hadn't intended it--or when my murderer becomes an entirely different character by the time I get there. I've got a WIP that's stalled out right now because I just realized the motive for murder and it's so tragic that I'm having difficulty coming to grips with it.

Writing can be really, really fun sometimes--so fun that it's hard to call it work.

Michelle H. said...

I've killed before. The blood stain was so hard to get off the carpet... in the novel.

I never really thought about it, simply because of the different ways the character can die. I even had one stage his own murder so the cops would send his wife to jail. It just all depends on the situation.

Tere Kirkland said...

I've never had a character die if I hadn't already planned their death, but I understand that feeling of letting "the muse" take over the story. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!

Way to go on the word count!

Mandy said...

I'm using my NaNo project to boost my skills and experiment with new story aspects. Killing one of the good guys, albeit a fringe character, is one of those experiments. I'm usually a kill-the-bad-guys-only sort of story teller, but obviously, real life doesn't always let the good guys live.

I love it when the story leads the writer. That's when I finally find my flow. Good luck on the WIP Eric!

The Screaming Guppy said...

HEHE! Unexpected character murders are the best. I think what makes them so awesome is, at least for me, it's always an ah-ha moment of violent bliss. Like I just uncovered a shiney in my plot I didn't know about before. :)

Lost Wanderer said...

I have killed characters, however, they have all been planned. I haven't yet come across a character who suddenly dies when I am writing. I would love for that to happen.

As for having fun, I know exactly what you mean. I am totally loving NaNoWriMo experience.

ElanaJ said...

I have killed a character before, both intentionally and unintentionally. In fact, sometimes when my characters bother me, are uncooperative and bug me too much, I write their death in a new document. Just to show them who's boss. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

Jaime Theler said...

The first time I killed off a character I cried. (Lame, I know.) But then I was ecstatic to find out later that she wasn't really dead and would in fact pop up in Book 2 of the series. No wonder people think writers are weird.

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

i'm not sure why, but i laughed when i read this. perhaps you intended to be funny the entire time, but i imagined you were really sitting at your computer, your mouth forming a shocked "O," thinking you are a murderer. then my mind went to the movie stranger than fiction where she discovers harold crick is a real person that she was going to kill off....and how many other real people had she killed? i think there's something wrong with MY mental processes. guess i need to do therapy on myself. :)

The Character Therapist

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

I killed off four characters in the first scene I ever wrote. I didn't even bat an eye. Hmm, maybe my books aren't as happy and cheerful as I thought they were. Congrats on taking a creative leap!

Galen Kindley--Author said...

Isn’t it wonderful when serendipity takes a hand? But then, as a no outline guy, you’re mostly running the Wildcat or run-and-gun style of offense when you write, correct? Sure you are, and it’s wonderful. It’s how I do it. But, when it works juuuuuuust right it’s a beautiful thing.

Confession…I’m gonna try a little more structure on book three, just to see what all the fuss is about.

I killed off bunch of people in my second book, (still a WIP, technically.) All were deserving, crooks and rif-raf. I kinda new it was coming. Didn’t bother me a bit.

Best Regards, Galen

Imagineering Fiction Blog

Glynis said...

I am so pleased for your loss ;0
I am killing off three of my characters, I intended on only one, but it felt so good I had another go. That took the storyline elsewhere so I did it again!
Keep having fun :)