So again I asked this question of myself the other day: How many people must die because of a book I’ve written? I hasten to note here that I’m talking about people in the book, in the fictional story, who are dying—not REAL live, breathing people. Please don’t call the cops!
I have discussed this issue on my blog several times in the past. It won’t go away. What happens is, I get to wondering why every novel I’ve written involves someone(s) having to die. Wazzup widdat? I am not a violent person. I have never gone hunting with a gun to “bag” a buck. I don’t even like fishing because fish don’t have arms and hands they can use to fight back with or at least pull the hook out.
So why must people die simply because I’ve written a book. I figure I must really be hung up about this because I’m forever thinking about it. Even here on this blog I keeping making the same points and it’s getting pretty redundant. For example, I’ve said this before: Can’t I write a nice story about people who have fun and do enjoyable things and nobody gets hurt? Walt Disney never really killed anyone that I remember. C’mon, how could you think of anyone dying when you watched Annette dance the hoedown on Friday’s Roundup Day?
And now I’m finishing up a new manuscript and so far only one person is waiting in line at the big pearly gates. But I have to tell you, a second person may soon be in the same line. I just can’t make up my mind what to do with/to this person. Maybe I should write two endings. That way no one could accuse me of playing God. There could be one ending where the person lives happily ever after and another where the person winds up in the ever after. I could color code the covers and the readers could select whichever ending they prefer.
All this dying stuff is the one part of the writing job I don’t care for. It’s so depressing and it consumes a lot of energy. I suppose the reader thinks creating the death of a character in a book is no big deal. The author just rolls out the death scene no differently from writing the wedding scene or the soldier’s homecoming. Yeah, right! Nothing to it. Well, let me set you straight–it is a big deal and if I were a drinker I’d have a good bottle of bourbon next to the keyboard every time I pound out a killing. There are big decisions to be made. First, how is the person going to die? Who’s with him/her when he/she goes? How’s it done? Who does it? Is it bloody? Does someone have to clean up afterwards? And on and on and on. See, it’s not that simple. I don’t how Stephen King gets through it all, let alone how he can live with himself after he’s finished.
So here I sit with this final chapter I have to write for this latest tomb my feeble imagination has given life to and I am undecided if and how I might take some back. Do I let this person off the hook…or do I hang him/her on it? And I just thought of something else. If I let this person die should I make him/her a donor? Y’know, they have a card in the wallet that offers up a set of eyes or a pair of kidneys or maybe even a heart. Holy crap, it never ends, does it?
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