I’ve spent the last week putting together a final revision for my book. The book was originally written for my friends, and starred them as characters. Everything about the story was fictional, but since it starred my friends, I forced some things to happen (and not happen) because I thought it would be rude to, say, kill one of them off in the story. “Hey I wrote a book with all of us in it. You die on page 10. Sorry.”
Now I’m transforming the story into something that will be public facing, and in the process the true story is coming out. As it turns out, one of the characters simply needed to die. I knew they had to die when I wrote the book originally, and I simply ignored the urge to make it happen. Again, I didn’t want to be rude to my friends.
So I sat down to write the scene today. I didn’t think it would be a big deal, I mean, it’s just a fictional character, right? I had already changed the names so it wasn’t even my friend’s name. It should be easy. Boy was I wrong.
The death unfolded slowly in the rewrite. In reading it, the scene probably takes about half a minute to get through. But writing it took what seemed like an inordinate amount of time. Killing off the character really brought about an emotional reaction. I was creating the character’s demise while at the same time saying in my head, “No! Somebody save him!”
It’s a very strange feeling; to destroy a character that you’ve worked very hard on (over a year’s worth of writing and rewriting). You miss the character right afterward, like you would a real person. But then it feels good to have the scene written and the way it should be. Like a final piece of the puzzle put in place.
Just thought I’d share how I was feeling about this. I don’t know if other writers have this same feeling when they write (if they do, Steven King must feel awful), but if you’re a writer I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.