♦Welcome to another edition of the Open Book Blog Hop!♦
How do you feel about the death of fictional characters? These can be your own or those of other authors.
How would you do it? Do you have a criteria for who can die? Would you ever kill off a named character?
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Articulating my feelings around the death of characters is a little complicated. It depends. When reading the work of other authors, my eye is critical to how they’re done in. Is it predictable, canned (formula), unnecessary (salacious), or the opposite?
Because I am also a film writer, I do a lot of watching of television and movies. All too often the characters are killed very predictably for salacious reason, based on formula. It really tears back on the quality of a work, for me. And, I don’t think I’m being unreasonably difficult on what’s presented at the upper crust of our art form. Writers should be writing beyond formulas.
In my own work, I have no issue wounding characters or even killing them, so long as it makes sense for the work, in a very necessary way. In reality, it takes a great deal to kill someone. It must be done with purpose. That’s what makes it so brutal. The human body is made to withstand trauma of all kind.
What I found far more difficult to endure writing was the rape of my lead character. As in life, rape leaves a victim that struggles to return to who they were prior to the attack. Being a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and assault as a young woman, it was particularly difficult to write what I knew. However, the message of survivorship is more important than coddling myself all these years later. There are women and men out there still struggling with their assaults/abuse, who need to hear a voice that might guide them to better days.
Through any of my books, there are many deaths. From the named to the unnamed, I have put many in their grave. It’s my hope that I have given them deaths that are meaningful for the work. Considering that most of my stories encompass some form of war, death is breathing hot on the reader’s neck. It’s expected (not predictable or salacious). I’m positive, however, if someone else wrote Blue Honor, supporting characters would have been killed off, whereas I kept them alive—and so onto my other books. While writing, I thought it was too predictable to off them, too easy.
Let’s see how the other authors answer this interesting question…