Day 20: Major character deaths

As I grow closer to the end of my novel, I am forced to consider what needs to happen before I can call the story finished. It does include some violence and darkness, my story, and a lot of important character shifts along the spectrum of good and evil. So it is not as though it’s meant to be a light and fluffy story, but I am still trying not to think too hard about the endgame for some of my characters.

My book originally was only supposed to have one villain and one semi-bad guy. As I wrote it, one other character edged over firmly into the antagonist camp. I wasn’t prepared for it, but it made total sense as the character developed. However, as I was developing the story, I started to doubt my original plan for the end. I originally intended for one character to die giving their life to save another’s, in a surprising act of sacrifice. The more that I worked on the development of that character’s growth, the more I’m uncertain about their death.

I enjoy well-presented tragedy as much as the next overly-invested reader, but now that I really like my character and their fledgling relationship within the story, I don’t want to kill them. I am not certain at this point that they even certainly must die. I know that I used to believe that, but that was back when they were conceived as much more maliciously involved in the main plot. Now it’s hard to argue that they must die at all.

On the other hand, my newly minted villain isn’t really even evil. They are acting from a sincere place, believing their actions are just and will protect others from harm. That doesn’t make their choices any less dark, but it does make it difficult to see a fitting end for them. If they are too convinced of their own righteouness, then won’t they be impossible to rehabilitate? At the same time, wouldn’t it be unfair to punish them for trying to do what they thought was best?

As I have continued writing, the new villain character has seemed to be heading toward a very dangerous situation. They seem like they actually could die, and I am not sure if that would be a good idea…but I am not sad about it, either. On the one hand I have a character who could live out their life safely and for good, that I planned to kill, and on the other hand I have a character who was never supposed to die, that seems to be headed straight for disaster.

Have you ever killed a beloved character, or saved one from death?

Today’s word count: 1,460

Total word count: 51,601

Today’s excerpt: Liam shrugged. “No, maybe you don’t deserve it. But it’s not something you have to deserve. I still like you because you’re still you, Rina. You still telegraph all your emotions across your face as though you’re acting in a silent film, and you still wear those ugly knitted hats.” He smiled then, reluctantly. “I just love you, I think. It’s not going away.”

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Day 20: Major character deaths

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