Thursday, June 28, 2012

I Just Want to Kill Him


Is that so wrong?
I’m working on a novel. It’s a follow up to my wildly successful first effort, “The Seeds”, (and by ‘wildly successful’, I mean ‘not really’ but I like it so I’m writing another one). I’ve finished the first draft of the first chapter, and I gotta tell you… I really want to kill this guy. Not because I don’t like him… I do, it’s just that... well…

It’s fun.

It’s a blast to kill off a character. In the world of “The Seeds”, where the characters are only a foot tall, there are lots of ways for people to die. In the first book, they died in droves. Bee stings, battles, war… the list is endless. I put together an unending stream of nameless people to get gobbled up by the environmental hazards they faced. Not to mention the damage they did to each other.

In the second book, the one I’m planning now, there is to be considerably less killing. The drama will come from the interactions, the subtle and not-so-subtle ways that the characters piss each other off, make each other happy and generally get through to the end, (in which I reserve the right to kill off somebody!). It’s ridiculously interesting to me to explore these characters and find out what makes them who they are.

Like Angus. Angus is the eyes of the reader. It is through him that the reader gets to experience this world. He’s a good guy, a bit conflicted, but generally a decent sort. I can’t kill him. He saw so much death and destruction in the first book, it’s a wonder that he hasn’t committed suicide, (Hey! There’s an idea!)

No. I tell myself. You can’t kill Angus.

As an author, the feeling of playing God over this world is intoxicating. With just a few key strokes, I can invent an insurmountable enemy, and wreak havoc at will. It’s almost like being an Olympian god, coming down to screw with the lives of the little people whenever I get bored or the mood strikes me. Then, after I’ve surveyed the carnage I’ve wrought, I can drift back up to the mountaintop and await my next whim. Maybe toss a few lightning bolts in the interim. It’s quite a kick for us mortals to engage our own minds in this way.

Logic dictates that there must be a story. A beginning, a middle, an end. That’s an amazing part of the craft as well. One in which an author can learn much about themselves and the world around them. This is how one engages a reader, draws them in and creates a fan of one’s work.

No one likes an incoherent rambling treatise of characters being bumped off at every turn. But, oh man… that would be fun to write!

What about you? Do you play God with your characters? Dangle a carrot and then pummel them with the stick? Tell me about it!