This time last year I was struggling with the idea of killing off one of the main characters in the book I am writing. Way back in the early planning stages, I knew this character would die. He had to. A huge chunk of the storyline could not happen if he didn’t meet his Maker.
But somewhere between the initial creation of this character and my molding him into a perfectly flawed but still loveable goon, the worst happened.
I fell in love.
Yup. You read that right.
It happens a lot to me. One minute I am frantically writing down character traits, giving birth to personalities and creating backstories. The next minute I am looking at this wondrous human being I have produced out of thin air and thinking “How you doin’?” (Heavy “Friends” tv show reference, if you don’t get that last line.)
I love the underdog, the loser, the bad boy. I will go to the pound and fall head over heels for the mangiest mutt they have. I will root for the team that has no chance in hell of ever winning a championship. Because I know, no matter how bleak it may seem, there’s a story there that will melt your heart and lift your spirits. A down-on-his-luck rogue who will make you think you’re the most beautiful woman in the world. A puppy that was abused by its last family but now showers you with unconditional love. A hockey team full of misfits that have more heart and perseverance than any other team out there.
These are my people. These are the characters who speak to me when I sit at my desk with my pen and notebook. I give them life. I give them a voice. They give me hope. I love these characters the best. They make me want to share their stories.
So this time last year, I was sick with worry. I knew I had to kill this amazing man who I felt such a connection to but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Yes, his life was filled with one bad decision after another. Morality was not in his vocabulary. He had seen and done some unspeakable things. But in his defense, I recognized that all of this could be attributed to a terrible childhood. And he tried to do the right thing. Sometimes. And he loved the heroine of my story. My God, they were so perfect together and <sigh> those romantic things he said to her when no one was around…and if you only knew how truly sweet and loving this tough guy could be when he wanted to and…
I kept him alive for just a little longer than I initially planned. But now the time has come. He has come to the edge of the cliff and I need to shove him off. There is no turning back. I tell myself “Just do it fast. It won’t hurt all that much and you’ll feel relieved once it’s finally over with and you can finally move on.” Once I kill him off, I can take the story to where I originally intended it to go. As long as he remains alive, none of what I planned out makes any sense and the entire project is going to take even longer than it already has. Which, at the moment, feels like forever.
Time to rip off that band-aid. Wish me luck!
Love and Peace!
Currently Listening To:
Halsey and G Easy – Him and I
Taylor Swift – New Year’s Day
Chris Stapleton – Nothing Compares to You