I killed a man. (IN FICTION.)
CALM DOWN. CALM DOWN. I DIDN'T ACTUALLY KILL ANYONE. Just a character. Good. Now that that's settled, let's continue.
As shocking as this may be, I haven't actually killed any characters in my past 13~ years of writing. (Don't worry, I was surprised by this too.) I've planned to, of course. I just haven't ... gotten around to it.
So yesterday on November 10th, you can imagine my shock when suddenly, BAM! A beloved character of mine was dead. (I'm not telling you who, but it's in my NaNo novel. You may now look at the faces in my Beautiful Books post and wonder who it was.) I had planned on killing this person, but planning and writing it out are two different things. I decided to just power through the scene, and I did. (And it hurt like heck, but I digress.) I know I wrote it, but I was so into the zone that when I realized what I had done, it was still jarring. Suddenly, one of my favorite characters who I had just started to fall in love with was dead. (And an OTP = broken. < / 3)
("But SKYYY! How can a post about death have such a pretty stock photo?" You may ask. Well, trust me. The other stock photos for "DEATH" were not that great. You can thank me later.)
Understandably, I am conflicted about what I have done. It's spawned a spin-off novel and added another dimension to a novel I've struggled to define all year. So that's fabulous. I got two new characters out of the death. From death is birthed life... Or something like that.
But at the same time, it's really frickin' sad. I know I'm taking a rather flippant tone in this post, but please know I don't take death lightly. In fact, it really sucks. And I especially want to be careful with my characters (since that's pretty much the only people's deaths I can control).
So here I sit, the day after killing my first character. And I'm wondering, should I have done that? I don't know. I think I'll leave it for now, at least until NaNo is over. But at what point is pain too much pain? What if I had kept him alive? What would the plot be then?
I'm mostly okay with what I have done, but my intensely loyal soul feels like I've just betrayed someone. (Ugh, I know, I know, it's not logical, but I'm not really ever logical.) And please don't misunderstand me, I do think there's a time and place for killing off characters. I just did not expect mine to be filled with these little tendrils of self-doubt.
If you have never killed off a character, do you plan to? Why or why not?