by Tamera Lynn Kraft
Have you ever cried during a movie or while reading a book because one of your favorite fictional characters died? If so, imagine the grieving process for us poor authors who not only created those characters but also had to kill them off.
One character in particular still causes a lump to rise to the back of my throat three years after writing his death scene. Joe was an honorable Christian slave before the Civil War. The daughter of his master was an abolitionist who was helping slaves escape to freedom. When a wicked man attacked her, Joe stepped in the way and was killed.
I was devastated. I had no idea Joe would do something so heroic to save my heroine. I cried for a week whenever I thought about it. My husband tried to console me explaining that Joe was a fictional character. Poor man didn’t understand, nor did he understand how I could be so upset about Joe dying when I was the one who wrote the scene. I tried to explain that I had no idea Joe was going to do such a thing, let alone be killed, until I wrote the scene. He just jumped in the way of the bullet. My husband is still shaking his head about that one. He’s not an author.
I went through all the stages of grief with Joe. First I couldn’t believe he’d done that. I didn’t plan on him being killed in my plot outline. Second I became rather irate. I am in charge. I’m the writer. How dare one of my characters go off and get himself killed without my permission. During the bargaining stage, I thought if I rewrite a few scenes, maybe I could save Joe. The depression stage is where I cried for a week and ate lots of chocolate. Finally I learned to accept Joe’s death even though I never really got over it.
In my newest novella, Resurrection of Hope, I also had to deal with the death of one of my characters, but I can’t tell you who. You’ll have to read the story. Fortunately this time, it didn’t come a surprise. Since I planned this death from the beginning, I had time to emotionally prepare, but the loss of any of my characters is never easy.
There is an exception. Evil characters who cause my protagonist heartache give me a certain amount of satisfaction when I kill them off in delightful ways. Ah, the life of a writer.
So when have you grieved over a fictional character’s death?
Resurrection of Hope
She thought he was her knight in shining armor, but will a marriage of convenience prove her wrong?
After Vivian’s fiancé dies in the Great War, she thinks her life is over. But Henry, her fiancé’s best friend, comes to the rescue offering a marriage of convenience. He claims he promised his friend he would take care of her. She grows to love him, but she knows it will never work because he never shows any love for her.
Henry adores Vivian and has pledged to take care of her, but he won’t risk their friendship by letting her know. She’s still in love with the man who died in the Great War. He won’t risk heartache by revealing his true emotions.
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