The First Kill is Always the Hardest
I still remember the first time I killed someone.
Three years ago I was riding in my van on the way to the grocery store and the thought streaked through my mind. What if Mr. X died? My initial response: No! I didn’t want him to die. I liked him. I’d criticized other writers for being too sympathetic toward their characters. Now, here I was, doing the same thing
The thoughts persisted. And I resisted. The more I thought about it, though, the more a necessity it became. By the time I finished loading the groceries into my van, I was plotting his demise.
It’s unpleasant to annihilate someone you care about. He’d been with me for two books and I was rather attached—and so was my protagonist. The scene happened to come over Christmas. I put off writing it. I already knew how he was going die, but the act of sitting down and doing it—writing out every detail, watching it through my protagonists eyes, suffering with him and her—was daunting. I decided it was best saved for after the holidays.
So, three days after Christmas, I sat down with my computer and a box of tissues and pounded out the scene I’d been dreading. I wept, sobbed, accumulated a pile of waded tissues. I blubbered like sane people cry over real people who pass on. And then, he was gone. We held him as he died. We buried him—my protagonist and I.
I did what I had to do and the story is better for it.