Monday, October 27, 2014

No regrets

Have you ever had a change of heart about a character you intended to dispatch, and found you had become attached to him or her?

by Meredith Cole

Yes, I have murdered people in my books. Nice people. But I don't regret a single death. In fact, I'd do it again to those same characters without question.

Maybe at the time I waffled a little bit. The character was nice. They had such potential. They could have been the murderer or even been a character in the next book in my series. Was it really necessary to knock them off? I'm sure I asked myself that question at least once.

But one of the secrets to making progress on your manuscript is to go ahead and make decisions about character and plot. Even if you don't want to, you need to go ahead and do it anyway. If you wait too long to try to decide between door number A and number B, hating to give up any options, your manuscript will come to a screeching halt. You make absolutely zero progress.  And for what? To keep someone alive who never really existed? If their death is an absolute disaster for your book, you can bring them back to life in the next draft.

But I have never had to resuscitate anyone and I've never been haunted by the spirits of any of my fictional characters. So it all came out okay.

Happy Halloween week everyone!


Paul D. Marks said...

Meredith, Like you say, one of the "secrets" or hard things we have to do is make decisions. And sometimes they're hard -- like killing off a character we like or who we think the reader might like. But if works for the story that's what we have to do. And then, if we regret it, we can bring them back like they do on some TV shows... ;)

Meredith Cole said...

I love the idea of bringing them back later if we regret it (like Sherlock Holmes!). Or maybe their ghost can haunt our other characters...?

Robin Spano said...

Happy Hallowe'en to you too. Love that picture of you. Glad you have no regrets about your evil ways.

Susan C Shea said...

This is the true meaning of "Kill your darlings!"

Triss said...

I actually had a character in Brooklyn Bones who was intended to be a victim. as a certain point, something dramatic had to happen and that was that. Only he was too useful and fun not to keep for later books. We are not always in charge, are we?