I’m following a discussion on two different blogs, Tess Gerritsen, and Dear Author, about killing off main characters. It has happened so many times to me when reading books, since I was a child; I vowed never to kill off a major character in any book I wrote. Not being a fan of non-fiction, my reading is exclusively fiction. I never quite figured out why fiction authors assassinate a character or characters they’ve spent hundreds of pages, or many series books, building into a solid vision in their readers’ heads. I have read some authors’ reasoning, for this plot destruction, as their attempt at keeping it real. If you wish to keep it real, get a job in journalism. What the hell are you writing fiction for? :) I remember when my brother Paul, who read every manuscript I ever wrote, called me up after beginning Casserine. He said, ‘tell me right now you little prick, did you kill off any of your main characters? If you did, I ain’t reading the rest.’ I laughed, and asked him if he knew me at all. He said, ‘okay, just checking’.
Although fiction writers can do whatever they want with their work, I don’t get this infatuation with what I call the ‘Old Yeller’ syndrome; where you spend creative genius establishing a beloved character, only to snuff ‘em to keep it real. As a reader, if I want real, I’ll pick up the local newspaper. :)