Killing a Character for the First Time

Today, I got to the point in my sci-fi horror novel-in-progress where I got to kill off one of the major characters. He’s been slated for death from the beginning, designed specifically to be annoying, so it’d be fun for me to kill him.

But it wasn’t fun… I don’t know why.

When I was in high school, I was writing a novel about tiger aliens on a spaceship, and I planned to kill one of the five main characters quite dramatically halfway through the book. I was really looking forward to it. But I never got that far.

In all the books I’ve written since then, I’ve never really killed a major character.

I know some of my readers would disagree with this — but ascending to a different plane of existence is not the same as dying.

Mostly, I just don’t want the bad parts of life in my books.

But I remember being young enough to think that the drama of writing a death scene would be exciting. Now that I’m to it… it just seems sad.

Maybe a pandemic isn’t the right time for it, or I’m just exhausted from dealing with a new puppy.

Tired can feel a lot like sad.

I like experimenting with writing new types of things — this novel, in addition to being horror, is present tense, first person. I like how that stretches my abilities.

But… I suspect, when this book is done, I’ll have learned that I’m mostly not a horror writer.

I like happy stories too much to want to devote the kind of committed energy it takes to write a novel to writing horror. Short stories, sure.

But there are an awful lot of books I want to write. And despite my abiding love for the Scream & Alien franchises, most are not horror.

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