THE WRITE ZONE: “You Have to Kill Your Darlings.” – Stephen King

Stephen King is one of the best story tellers in this Century. Although I’m not into chilling horrors, he has mastered the art of writing.

In my debut novel, Stolen Destiny, I touched on the subject of death when I introduced Dawn Flemming and her husband, Vince Garrett. The reader immediately knew they had been murdered; Wade Peterson’s brother, James, committed suicide.

I’ve read books where the author kills one or more main characters. I get furious! Why? Because I have gotten emotionally attached to them.. No matter how dire the situation appears, I expect the miracle of a ‘SAVE’.

Now I’m wondering if I should limit myself like that. Unfortunately, death is a part of life, right?

Until now, I couldn’t fathom killing any of my characters off.  Most of us have already experienced the journey of grief and pain in losing someone we love. Why would I want to subject my reader to that pain and heartache? Because it makes the story and the characters real. If you think it’s easy for a fictional character to die, remember Message In A Bottle or A Walk To Remember?  I consider  Nicholas Sparks a genius in writing unforgettable romances; sometimes tragic; sometimes bittersweet. Maybe he got Stephen King’s message, because he definitely kills his darlings too.

Losing someone to  murder isn’t as common, but it does happen, especially  if you listen to  the nightly  news. It happens in the best of families and doesn’t discriminate from the rich or poor.  I sometimes wonder if I’m being insensitive to the reader who has lost someone to crime. It’s not something I consciously think about when I create a scene. Sometimes bad things happen to good people.

As a writer of romance and mysteries, I will, when the story permits,  “kill my darlings”.  I will test the waters and see if Stephen King is right about his advice.  I hope all of you readers will let me know what you think.

So be prepared for a few surprises in the next series of my Bongo Bay Mysteries.

Until next time, Stay In The Write Zone,

Jeanette Lynn Dundas

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