The uneasiness of killing off characters

I'm halfway through the timeframe of NaNoWriMo, though not halfway through my word count since I started late. I have daily writing goals of 2,000 words that if followed (or caught up on...) will get me to 50,000 words on exactly the last day.

Now it's just down to two things: 1. that I have the story told by 50,000 words, and 2. that I remember to verify my word count by midnight! (I tend to fudge my "days" a little.)

As for #1, I'm trying to be bare bones about this writing assignment and make sure I get the plot told. I figure I can fill in all that fancifying description and character development later!

NaNoWriMoHere's something I didn't expect, though. As a huge fan of reading murder mystery novels and watching American and British versions of same, I thought of myself as hardened and jaded in terms of committing fictional murder. But in my first chapter, I had to kill off a character (otherwise it's not, you know, a murder mystery), and I felt guilty! She seemed kind of nice, and I'd barely gotten to know her before she was dead. In a horribly agonizing way, although not overly gory. (This is a cozy, so I'm going with things like poison and booby traps.)

I accept with no qualms the deaths of characters in mystery fiction I read or view, but somehow being the perpetrator of the death made me feel bad. I could see it being even more wrenching if I'd really "known" the character and become attached.

How have you experienced the death of a character? Has it felt necessary and acceptable, or has it upset you as much as it did the other characters?

Photograph courtesy of Mateusz Stachowski from stock.xchng


Lauren Wayne » Blog Archive » Getting your characters in trouble said...

[...] similar to being afraid to kill off characters, as in my other post. Sometimes being a writer feels like too much [...]

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