I'm in the midst of doing some revisions to a manuscript. On the one hand, I'm remembering just how much I love this story and how in the main character's head I was when writing (this is the book I drafted last year in 31 days). This was major in-the-zone writing and I love it. I think the revisions are making it better too. But... I hate re-killing characters I love.
An explanation first. Those 31 days last year? I spent most of them crying as I wrote this manuscript. It's a very emotional story for me and so many scenes tore me up to write. But I was a sobbing idiot on the days that I had to kill a couple characters. Yes, I know GRRM--if he were ever to read this--would be laughing at me right now, but I think I understand where the difference lies between his perspective and Rowling's. (https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-P_pCHQCYvkE/To3M6oNp6fI/AAAAAAAADFg/q9OUVE65Z8I/jk_martin.jpg)
You see, I kill characters all the time in my adult stuff. I even kill characters I like a lot. And when I do it there, it doesn't really bother me. (The adult story that affected me the most remains unfinished because it was so depressing for me to write. Not tear-jerking, just depressing, and no one even died on the page--only in the past.) But when it comes to my young adult work, killing characters sucks something out of me.
When I'm working on adult stuff, the characters are like my friends. Yes, I'd be heartbroken if my friends died, but I know that I'd pick up the pieces and my life would go on. (Sorry to my friends, but it's true. If nothing else, I'd need to go on for my kids.) But as an adult writing YA, those characters are more like my kids than my friends. And if my kids died, my world would fall apart. Hell, even if my kids' friends died and I had to watch them crumble, it would kill me a little bit inside. So when I have to write the deaths of characters who are so real inside my head that they fell like my own children, it rips my heart out and stomps on it.
I'm at the part in revisions where people start dying. In this world, death is a really common thing, but not the type of death these characters face. I had to "re-kill" one of them today, but that was the easier death. The harder one? The one that really screws with my main character's world? That came a couple chapters later, and the closer I got to it, the less I wanted to work on the book. This death--and the aftermath of it--tear so many things apart that I couldn't stomach the idea of facing it so close on the heels of the last one.
But I have to do it.
So tomorrow, I'm going to pull up my big girl panties and destroy the lives of a group of kids who live inside my head. But tonight I couldn't. Tonight I decided to knit instead.
So, yes, GRRM fans, I guess I'm adorable too. But at the end of the day, I'm okay with that.