One of the most difficult parts of writing a book like Life After E.L.E. is deciding who lives and who dies…
As a reader, I can remember being so angry over seeing some of my absolute favorite characters being “killed off” by the author.
However, as an author, I have realized that – though the story is mine – I don’t always get my way.
And it was not an easy lesson to learn – nor is it always easy to live with.
I cannot say with absolute authority that this is the way it is with every author. . . or every book. . . but it is the way my books have been – up to now anyway.
With my first series: Order of the MoonStone it was somewhat easier to deal with characters’ deaths…
First of all, more than a few of them were “bad guys” – which is always easier to swallow.
Second of all, there were very few who happened to be a character we had become attached to – which always makes it easier… for me and for my readers.
But death and danger are most definitely a part of that series – just as they are for my new series: The Frozen World.
In book 1: Life After E.L.E. – the very name tells you [once you discover that E.L.E. stands for Extinction Level Event] something horrific has happened, something that lead to a tremendous death toll.
So, we start off this book with the knowledge that life is extremely fragile.
In this new FROZEN world, very few people have survived extinction.
And those who have survived, are in constant danger.
So of course, this tells us – going in – that some of the characters will die.
What is revealed in the next section is most definitely a spoiler – though not one that could ruin the story for you. In fact, it may make the book more enjoyable for some…
Proceed at your own discretion…
In the very first full chapter, we see this firsthand.
Fortunately, we don’t really have the opportunity to get attached to the characters from that scene.
There simply isn’t time.
Of course, that doesn’t stop the “evil” author from dropping hints about how adversely those deaths are affecting various characters whom we do get attached to.
Also – and somewhat unfortunately – with this series, I was not able to contain the deaths to those few.
It simply would not have rung true.
Right off the bat [it’s in the book blurb so I’m not really giving anything away this time] we discover that Eve’s father is dead – and he died because he did not make it to the gates in time.
It is Eve’s very own – and very personal reminder of just how important it is to be inside the compound gates before they close at night.
You might think that would be enough for the (cough… cough) mean author.
You’d be wrong.
Though I will happily point out at this juncture that the deaths were NOT exactly my idea.
The story called for them – it really did.
I do not enjoy killing off characters.
I don’t… REALLY!
This is where that thing I mentioned above – where I don’t always get what I want – comes into play.
As an author, I am the vessel, the voice, the tunnel through which the story light shines.
A lot of authors plot out their books; they know precisely what is going to happen and when.
They choose who lives, who dies, who falls in love, who gets their own story at some point.
I am not one of those authors.
I don’t get to decide.
I don’t get to argue with my characters about it either… well, I should say it doesn’t do any good.
I do try.
I always try.
But it never does me any good.
In fact, I am still annoyed about a character who died in book 2 of my very first series (I will get that book ready to publish one of these days – if I can ever get over that unfortunate death, that is).
There was no need for the death.
At least – that’s what I tell myself when I’m bummed about it… when I’m trying to talk my way out of it.
But the ultimate answer is really the only argument.
[even if I hate to admit it]
The point is this:
Did it need to happen?
Does it advance the story?
Does it take the other characters to the next step?
If you can answer yes to any of those questions – you know you really have no argument.
If the answer is yes – then it has to happen.
And it doesn’t matter how much it annoys the author… or even the reader.
The bottom line is – if it has to happen, there’s really nothing you can do about it.
And… the story would simply not be as good without it.
So, as much as it annoys me – or makes me cry – or makes me angry – I know I have to do it.
Because if I don’t, the story itself is going to suffer.
And I am – oddly – reminded of Mr. Spock at this juncture.
“The needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few.”
It’s a tough quote to swallow when you’re bawling your eyes out over your favorite character’s death.
It’s also not much consolation, but it is at the very least, an explanation that makes sense.
So, while you’re reading Life After E.L.E. *fingers crossed that a lot of you read this post before you read the book*, please keep that in mind – and don’t hate me… please???
At this point, I will also explain the memes. The images above are as close as I can get to what I see in my head when I think of the main characters from Life After E.L.E.
And, unfortunately, they’re not all going to make it to book 2.
Who are you voting for? Whose “team” are you on?
Tell us in the comments… on social media… or in your own blog post.
And have fun with it!
That’s all for now. Until next time,