Sunday, 10 February 2008

Murdering friends

While I was on holiday, I happily devoured the last two Harry Potter books. I don’t care what anyone says about JK Rowling, she can really spin a good story – though I do think these later books were over-padded. What I did wonder though, was how she could bear to kill off the characters she did after so many books? How could she destroy something so real? It’s not like she’d just introduced these people and then killed them off. She’d created seven books about them. They were three dimensional, interesting, real characters.

Am I the only one who feels like her characters are part of the family? I know - if I didn’t do terrible things to them, the stories wouldn’t be worth reading. But how do I actually kill them off? How can I bear it? I didn’t even enjoy getting to the end of my first novel, because now I no longer had daily ‘conversations’ with these characters I’d created... hence the sequel. So how do I actually kill them off, as I know must happen somewhere along the way? It will feel like murdering a friend.

Maybe it would be easier to write novels backwards, so that if we have to kill off a main character at the end of a story, we’ve not become too attached. Instead of writing a novel and then sequels, maybe it would be easier to write prequels.

Or maybe I should just learn not to get too attached to what are, after all, only figments of my own imagination. Someone tell me how? Please?


Angela said...

I haven't followed all the JK hype, but I wonder if she decided who to kill off way in the begining. I do recall something said about her having all the books written (or planned at least) right from the get go. Maybe if this is the case, it might have given her some distance from them, knowing right from conception that their lives would end.

For me, I know when someone is going to die most of the time, right in the planning stage, so it makes it easier. Not that it's ever easy, if you get my meaning.

Catherine J Gardner / Phoenix Rendell said...

I've only had a problem killing off characters in one of my novels - and I found a way to cheat. Normally, I'm okay with it.