Today, probably by sometime this evening, I’ll have breezed past the fifteen thousand words mark of The Foundation Chronicles: The Scouring, and perhaps have even crawled into the sixteen thousand word range. After seven days of writing I’l have moved beyond the half-way point of my novella, and if my stats are correct, I’ll finish NaNo Camp next Sunday with thirty thousand words plus of a lead-in to my November NaNo Novel.
Then I can rest for a little while.
This gives me time to read some of the things out on in the Facebook NaNo group, and ponder the human condition. I’ve started following it more closely these days, smiling at several of the questions, ignoring others, blocking a few (when someone comments that “science is a religion”, you’ve succeeded in pressing my You’re An Idiot Button, and I have to stop following them from that point on), commenting once in a while, and even assisting in the hijacking of one thread, which brought out the Evil Dominatrix Empress from within and saw a soft “Bwah, hahaha!” being uttered.
I’m so proud of myself.
There was a question today that was actually a good one. Someone asked if anyone ever cried when they had to kill certain main characters. It is a good question, because writing can be an emotional experience, and it entirely possible to get caught up in the words you weave. I’ve cried as well, usually at the end of a story–two in particular–because there were feeling passing between my characters that were feelings I pulled deep from within. There was a time when I couldn’t write like that; that time is long past.
But what if you have to off your characters? Doesn’t that get you down?
I do imagine of the times when it’ll become necessary to kill characters in stories. I mean, I could justify doing it by pointing to this picture on the right and saying, “Substitute ‘main characters’ for ‘enemies’.” It’s gonna add some character to your writing, piece by piece–get it? Chirrup chirrup. Oooh, tough crowd.
As I usually do, I think about my characters and where they are going. I think about their past, their presents, and their futures. They don’t tell me where they’re going: I do that for them, because they are figments of my imagination, and I own their asses, not the other way around. If I say they’re going to get married, they do; if I say they’re going to retire, they do.
If I say they’re going to come down with a horrible, degenerative illness, or get their legs blasted off in an explosion, or die in a fairly hopeless fashion because they didn’t listen to advice, it’s gonna happen. They got no say in the matter.
The things I’ve mentioned above, they will happen to characters I’ve written about. Two of those events, in fact, will eventually happen to characters in this story I’m writing for Camp NaNo. Am I trying to crawl my way up The Wall to stand next to the Master of Destroying Your Favorite Character Just to Make You Feel Bad, George R.R. Martin? No. For one, none of these characters are your favorite. Maybe they’re mine–well, yes, all three are. I love them. I cherish them. I want good things for them.
But everything dies. Everything. Even my favorite characters. Oh, sure: they might live on in your memory, or in the memories of your readers. But they can die on the page. Sometimes their deaths will be good, and other times they’ll suck hard. I can promise I won’t ever stuff someone in a refrigerator just for the hell of it, but everything else is up for grabs.
Besides, I’ve got about forty characters to bump off in my current story this coming week.
Who’s got time for tears with that much writing?