As writers, we breathe life into our characters. Every word, feeling, action and reaction are a product of our creation. We spend hours, days, weeks, months and even years getting to know them, but then there are the characters that come into being without meaning to. Sometimes they are meant to be back ground characters or a phrase I coined come-hither fillers. You know? Those unimportant by-standards who matter but not really. Each person in our world has a life; a story. But that’s the rub of it. The more we get to know those loveable specimens the more we love them, and the less we want to off their asses.
Creating a character, a true character for which we feel deeply for isn’t always as hard as one might think. But what happens when a character comes in, steals the show and refuses to do what you want? My character, Lentle Maste, in Messy Death is a perfect example of this. Lentle Maste was not supposed to be. His existence was not in the plot nor was his rapturous and intertwining story line, yet here he is. Alive and kicking.
Which brings us to my next topic. Death. What happens when a character who is meant to die becomes one we can’t let go of? The character is refusing to do what you want. You’re refusing to make them die and then…gasp…your outline goes to hell in a hand basket. I’m not here to pass judgment or preach about the what and how toos. Instead, I’d rather challenge you. Write a main character you love. Write a secondary character you love even more. Make the story as long or short as you want, but this stipulation must be met. Kill the character you love most off at the end of the story. Make the death emotional, justifiable, underwhelming, overwhelming. (Yes, I’m inserting a shameless novel plug here.) These deaths can be messy, clean, peaceful or tormented. As long as you kill them off, the challenge will be met.
Now, if you can make me, the reader, care about your beloved, slated for death, character half as much as you do I will name a character after you in Messy Death’s sequel. Title to be released when the winner is announced. If you’re willing to accept this challenge, leave a comment, including your name and email address, on this post. When the story is ready for my viewing, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions need to be in by January 28th, 2012. The winner will be announced February 1st, 2012. The day I announce the winner, I will post my own submission for your reading pleasure.
Good luck. I look forward to reading your stories.