- Awareness. Whilst happily writing your story you become aware of a little voice deep inside you saying “that much-loved character needs to be killed off!” You start to shake your head in disbelief and assume the writer shell-shocked face. Loved ones at this point may raise an eyebrow as they can see you muttering away to yourself. They are oblivious to the fact that you are entering your own form of literary hell – much-loved character death.
- Denial. You quickly rise from your chair and start to pace the room. You can’t kill off that much-loved character. Quickly you enter into writer denial mode and say things like “their death won’t advance my sagging plot” and “their death won’t motivate my other dull and lifeless characters”. You will look to uninterested loved ones for answers but they will simply shrug and turn back to the sport on TV.
- Realisation. After a well needed Writer’s Nap you return to your writing and it hits you hard, like a fist to the guts – they (fictional character) have to die. Gasp! Shriek! Cue your emotional outburst via Twitter. You will be hash tagging like crazy – #killingmycharacterisgoingtobreakme and #doingtheunthinkable and #characterdeathimminent.
- Grief. After writing your much-loved character’s final scene you will place your head in your hands and start to weep. They have gone. Writing land feels empty and bleak. They were like family to you. It’s up to you and your other characters now to pick up the pieces. You are a tear-stained mess. It’s time to play out your grief on every form of social media known to man. Cue your tweets #killedmycharacter and #charactermourning and #willneverforgetyou quickly followed by some emotional pins on Pinterest about saying farewell to special people, followed by a floral tribute on Instagram and ending with a tear stained selfie on Facebook.
- Hope. A chapter later and its like they never existed. You are back to your happy writer self, your plot has been reenergized and your other characters have dug deep / found some inner strengths that they and you didn’t know existed. There is new hope for you and your story. Happy Days!
Take it easy my fellow writers, killing off a much-loved character can feel like an emotional roller coaster.
photo credit: Stocksnap