30 Days of Writing–Day 24: Literary Murder

"All is Vanity" by C. Allan Gilbert....

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24. How willing are you to kill your characters if the plot so demands it? What’s the most interesting way you’ve killed someone?

I kill ’em off in a heartbeat in my flash fictions and shed nary a tear.  I’m utterly ruthless in that mode because I’m not emotionally invested in the characters, already know they’re going to die when I start the story.  Although there is one old guy whose death kind of chokes me up every time I read his story.  The tears aren’t so much over the dying part but his angst about a decision made in life and the salvation he achieves in death.

My novels, on the other hand, don’t feature doomed heroes or heroines.  At least they haven’t so far, mostly because they’ve all been romances with the mandatory HEA (happily ever after) ending.

If I wrote outside the romance genre and the plot demanded it, however, I’d have no qualms about writing about the character’s death.  I’m not sure how I’d do it.  They usually die quickly in my short stories because that’s all I have time for, ha ha.  In a novel I could drag it out some, though I doubt I’d ever go all Jodi Picoult on the reader.

As fascinating as death is to me (and believe me, my husband has noticed more than a few times that I was a little too interested in this reality show about a mortuary, Six Feet Under, Dexter, True Blood, etc.), it’s not a topic that I currently care to write about all that much.  I do like a good murder mystery, though, so I’ll reiterate the currently part of that statement.

Most interesting way I’ve killed someone?  (Geesh, I’m now realizing that I’ve written so many short stories that I’m starting to forget some of them.)  The one that springs to mind and sticks is my first AW Sunday night challenge flash fiction story about a loser named Tommy Schofield.  He died when the prop of the private airplane he was in flew off and entered the cabin, killing him as he slept.  That story, called “Loser”,  is buried in my blog somewhere.  I won’t claim that the writing is all that good, so I won’t link it, but the plot was kind of cool.  I must confess that I stole his death from the irrational fear of an Arthur Andersen partner for whom I once worked.  He never liked sitting near the wing of those little puddle-jumpers we had to use in New Mexico.  I confirmed his fears in Tommy’s story.  Heh-heh.  Oh the life and death power we wield, with a keyboard and imagination our only weapons.