I promised myself I wouldn’t do this.
Keep him alive, I mean.
I’ve had it all planned out for months. Even before I started writing a new version of my story, a prequel to better familiarize myself with the characters and storyline, I knew what I had to do. I knew, eventually, he would have to die.
I knew this book would have to end in tragedy. Tears.
And then, as writers often do, I changed my mind.
I decided I couldn’t let him go.
The story still doesn’t end as happily as some would prefer: you can’t tie up all loose ends and leave the reader in a happily-ever-after haze when there are at least three more books (maybe five) that continue on the same track. You have to leave some things hanging. You have to leave some questions unanswered.
But I just couldn’t let myself be that heartless to a character that’s basically been part of this project from the beginning. We’ve been through a lot together. His role in the later books will change now, which is fine; I’m figuring out his role in the later storylines was one of the barriers keeping it from going the way it needed to. Different characters will take on those roles. He served his purpose in the prequel, and I guess I convinced myself that meant he had to go away and never come back. You know. Literally.
One thing that bothers me about T.V. shows (going off on a tangent here but I’ll bring it back) is when characters disappear for no reason and don’t come back at all. If you think about real life, people go away for a while all the time; sometimes they come back and sometimes they don’t. But a character can’t just disappear and not be missed. So if this main character, as mysterious as he already is, needs a different place in the story, even if that means disappearing, he has to “go out with a bang” right?
Awful choice of words.
Part of me doesn’t want to stray from my original plan. Because, I’ll just say it: it was good, the way I was planning his demise (muahaha?). It was supposed to serve a purpose. It was supposed to, you know. Mean something.
As you may or may not know, sometimes characters do have minds of their own. If he would have done what I asked, and only fallen in love with my narrator, I guess you could say it would have been easier to let him go, because she’s a strong, independent woman and can handle (sort of) that sort of thing.
But then before I realized what was happening, he developed a “relationship,” if you want to call it that, with a character who happens to become important in later books, and also happens to be, well, a toddler. I can’t take a toddler’s father figure away from her. That’s not fair. She needs stability in her life. I can’t even tell you why, because, well, spoilers. Not that you’re ever guaranteed to be able to read the book because, well, it’s not finished yet. And I don’t even have an agent. Who am I? (Nobody.)
At first I was worried about changing my mind. Every character death is significant. It always means something. But maybe, if you look at it a little differently, every character you save from death is significant, too. Maybe he has a bigger “destiny” in the future of this series and I just don’t know it yet.
Okay, so he doesn’t get the girl you’d expect (sorry). He doesn’t exactly get to keep his own identity, either. (Dropping hints like it’s my job). But he doesn’t have to die, even though I’ve been warning him all along it was going to have to end that way.
I don’t know.
I just go where my brain goes.
Image courtesy of Novelty Revisions.
A recent graduate with a B.A. in English and a completed major in nutrition, currently seeking a graduate degree in health communication, Meg is a twenty-something workaholic with a passion for writing, coffee and dietetics. In addition to her status as an aspiring novelist and Grammar Nazi (and the mastermind behind this site), Meg is an editor for College Lifestyles magazine and a guest blogger for Food & Nutrition Magazine’s Stone Soup. She is a seven-time NaNoWriMo winner and has written several creative pieces for Teen Ink magazine. Follow Meg on Twitter.