Tracy is the author of Union of Renegades. Her book is on tour this week through AuthorAdvenTours, and we are proud to be one of her tour stops. Tracy has kindly written a guest post for us on the art of killing off your characters. Enjoy!
by Tracy Falbe
I have blood on my hands. The blood is fictional, but I still feel bad. As the author of four fantasy novels, I've killed a few people. Honestly I don't like doing it, but when you have epic battles and backwoods skirmishes and slavering beasts, you simply must kill people. If everyone always lived, then it would not be the least bit reasonable. If everyone is going to be waving swords around, then people must get hurt. That's just how it is.
Such facts do not make it any easier to kill. I even put off writing a chapter when I know I have to basically shoot Old Yeller. I try to write every day, but when it's time to let the axe fall, I'll start procrastinating. I'll also reconsider the whole thing. Maybe I can save him! All I have to do is NOT kill him. But these eleventh hour pleadings never sway my cold writer's heart. If someone must die, then he or she must die. It is written, or at least it will be as soon as I write it.
The hardest death scenes to write are when I have to kill someone I like. When my mom read my fantasy series The Rys Chronicles, she complained that I killed her favorite character. I totally sympathized. I loved him too, but he served the story best by making the ultimate sacrifice. To be honest, I aim to make the characters I kill likable so I can gain more emotional impact when they kick the bucket.
I don't kill everyone I like. I hardly reach the fifth act of Hamlet levels, but for the sake of telling a strong story, I do send the occasional character to the next world. I am trying to be dramatic, and the death card makes a strong hand when you're telling a story. I'm a fan of Frank Herbert's Dune, and his killing of Duke Leto really got to me. I never got over that literary death, which is strange because Leto is only in a few chapters, but his presence was so monumental. He was an icon of just leadership, and his death was a blow to all that was good. I aspire to this level of impact.
Murder has consequences too. Killing characters is a dangerous business with readers. They might not forgive you, but if I've actually upset a reader with a character death, then at least I have touched that reader on an emotional level. He or she was wrapped up in my creation enough to care. When I kill a character I'm hoping that the reader will become more tightly bound to the surviving characters and share in their grief.
Tracy Falbe is the author of Union of Renegades, The Goddess Queen, Judgment Rising, and The Borderlands of Power that comprise The Rys Chronicles fantasy series.
About Union of Renegades: The Rys Chronicles Book I - Have you ever looked at the facts of your life and realized your dreams won't come true? Have you ever looked into the unknown and seen opportunity? For Dreibrand Veta, a young officer in the Horde of the Atrophane Empire, these questions explode from his spirit in a fit of rage and launch him into an epic struggle. After he encounters a rare super race, the rys, he is forced to choose sides between passionate rivals and navigate his way through a foreign culture all while plotting to seize his own wealth and glory.
Fantasy readers can sample the first novel Union of Renegades by downloading a free copy from her website www.braveluck.com. Paperbacks available too.
All her fantasy novels are also widely available at major online retailers.
Amazon Kindle http://www.amazon.com/Union-Renegades-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B003UES7U8/
Barnes & Noble Nook http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Union-of-Renegades/Tracy-Falbe/e/2940000720509/
Google Ebooks http://books.google.com/ebooks?id=ifNnT44l-KIC&dq
Apple iBooks http://itunes.apple.com/en/book/union-renegades-the-rys-chronicles/id365801314?mt=11