As most of you know, I’m getting really close to the end of my serial: Nurse Blood. I’ve already said it’s going to be a slaughteragazna, and I find myself not wanting to kill off certain characters for certain reasons. I’m not going to disclose which characters those are, in case you’re currently reading (spoilers SUCK!), but I will talk about why we have these feelings and why we should still kill at will (characters in stories only, of course!).
The reason we don’t want to off the characters is because we’ve become attached to them. We either really like them and just want to keep them around, or we don’t want to hurt them. It’s somewhere along the lines of ‘we’re now seeing them as a real person and don’t want to beat the emotional (or physical) crap out of them.’
Yes, I’m fully aware that the characters aren’t real people, and are nothing more than figments of my imaginations… But, while I’m writing the story, I amthem in a way, and I live their existence (how ever NOT REAL it is) inside myself.
Now, a good writer makes their readers feel the same way about their characters, and they don’t want to see harm befall them either.
That’s exactly why you shouldn’t hold back. You should unleash the emotional Hounds of Hell on the character, because it echoes with the reader.
They may hate you for it. They may cry, and rant, and wonder what the hell you were thinking, but they’ll come back for more.
When someone picks up your book, they’re looking for more than just a good story — THEY WANT AN EXPERIENCE!
Readers want to get lost in the story. They want to believe (even if it’s just for a short time) that they are, or know the characters. They want to breathe with them. They want to travel with them. They want to experience what they feel and think.
Now, you may say it’s mean to intentionally harm a character that you love, or that your reader loves, but it really isn’t.
Bad shit happens to everyone in life at some point. If your characters don’t hurt, they aren’t real.
Readers need that connection. They need to feel the joy and the pain of the character’s existence, because even if the situations aren’t the same, it’s a connection to the real world and the real heart of your reader.
So, when you think about holding back and ‘sparing’ your characters death or pain… Grin like a maniac and go for it, and pat yourself on the back. You’ve made that character real to you, so they’ll be real to your reader, and making your reader feel ANYTHING (good or bad) is an amazing skill.
©Rebecca Besser, 2012. All rights reserved.