Sunday, April 28, 2013

Re-Writing A Death

I like to kill people - on paper.

Honestly, it's the only therapy I have that doesn't make my personal issues worse.

However, sometimes, I end up killing people I like. You see, I had to kill a character I was loving in my WIP, 'The Bones Beneath.' He reminded me of Michael Clarke Duncan. Yes, the big, adorable actor who played 'John Coffey, like the drink, but not spelled the same' (King, S. 2000). Michael Clarke Duncan died right after I had started adding James into the story, right after I realized who he reminded me of. So, I started giving him lines I thought MCD would sound nice saying. I fell even more in love with him because MCD was one of my favorite actors.

Then, I knew James was going to die. And I stopped writing. I couldn't face it. But, I knew I had to or I wasn't going to finish the novel and I HAVE to finish the novel, you see, it's the best thing I've written, ever.

So, I killed him.

Then, after I had gotten past it, after I mourned my strong, protective friend who just happened to remind me of such a beautiful and recently lost man, I realized I didn't kill him right. I needed to do it a different way so that I could progress the protagonist where I needed him.

How do you go back and Re-Kill a favorite character?

I had to get sad. I steeled myself up by watching 'Downton Abbey', the third season... oh my goodness! I visited my family's graves. I dug myself deep into depression and sadness about death and I allowed it to overcome me.

Dangerous for a depressive. I know. But, I wanted the scene to feel right. Not maudlin, not simplistic, just right.

I made sure none of my family could interrupt me. They were either at school, work or sleeping when I sat down with my story. It's very hard to get into the mood of killing off a friend when your family is being all cute and loving to you. My son is adorable. Every time he sees me sad, he puts his hand on my shoulder and says, "You can't do this (watch this, work on this, whatever I'm doing at the time) anymore, Mommy, come play with me."

I used paper and a pencil to write. It's more personal for me than typing on the computer. I can get close to the paper, I can get my hands on the words and if I needed to, I can lay down with my paper and pencil, in case I need to curl up and cry.

I made sure to have time to recover afterward. I take a nice, long, quiet, hot shower to recover from sadness. Depression, well, that's a different story. If it's really bad, it takes a while, but in this case, just like after I watched the end of Season Three of 'Downton Abbey,' I just needed a strong-armed hug from my man.

I hope I did James and Mr. Michael Clarke Duncan justice. I know I hurt my main character, but he needed the prodding. He needed the extra pain.

I do not recommend killing people. It's more pain for you than for them.

Reference:
King, S. (2000). The green mile. (1st ed.). New York: Scribner.

2 comments:

John H. Carroll said...

I never get a moment without distraction. *sigh* I generally get interrupted while the character is holding the bloody sword. ;)

I've killed off a few characters I like. Oddly enough, I tend to get pissed at them for dying.

*hugs* You'll be okay. :)

John

Al Fetherlin said...

John,

I feel for you. I admire you, though. I have no idea how you get so much done without the benefit of solitary confinement.

James' death came in the story about how you've described your deaths - quick and out of the blue. I was just writing and all the sudden I realized he was going to die.

I kept trying to put it off hoping I'd change my mind, or he'd change his mind, but no one budged.

It still makes me so sad, but you're right, I'll be ok.

Thanks for the hugs and support.

Much Love,
AL

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