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Death: A Figment of My Imagination?

One of the characters died in the book I’m writing. Not just a character, someone very close to me: a unique individual, a beloved friend.

I see the death, aftermath and funeral clearly in my mind at various (usually inconvenient) times or places throughout the day and tears may trickle down my cheeks or I may get sad and depressed. Is this one of the pros or cons of writing? I’m not sure.

Someone invariably asks me if anything is wrong. “A friend died recently,” I sniff.

“Oh, I’m so sorry.”

“Yes, it’s sad, but don’t worry he wasn’t real.” (It’s no wonder I have a reputation.)

It doesn't feel like a figment of my imagination.

D² saw me moping the other day. When she asked what was wrong, I told a beloved character had died.

“What are you so sad for? You’re the one who killed him.”

AAAAHHH. It was like a knife in the heart. Ok that’s a little dramatic but you get the idea.

“I did not kill him. So and so killed him.” (I can’t name who did it. Who knows? You may read it someday, and this would spoil it.)

“Well you made them do it. It’s still your fault.”

It is not my fault.”

It’s amazing how adept we humans are at shifting the blame. I wanted to blame my muse for the death, after all she went on the lark and came back with lots of fodder for me to use. But I was afraid to blame her; I didn’t want her getting angry at me and running off again.

Romeo & Juliet: Who's to blame for this tragedy?

I’m not the only writer faced with accusations of murder. It’s an occupational hazard.  Who’s to blame for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet?  Friar Laurence who orchestrated the deception? Romeo the impetuous? Juliet the romantic?

Or is Shakespeare the true culprit?

Or could it be that we humans are not to blame for anything? The serpent is the one who started it. I say we blame it all on the serpent.

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12 comments on “Death: A Figment of My Imagination?

  1. I agree with you- humans are always playing the blame game. It is so much easier to blame others for our actions than to take responsibility for our choices. Maybe that is why some people just refuse to take decisions and actions.

    Also, I know how you feel. I have fallen in love with book characters, cried when they have died and cursed the evil ones. I tend to get very engrossed and involved in what I read. I look forward to reading your book when it comes out. Good luck!

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    • Responsibility is a big scary word. It’s one of the first vocabulary words kids should learn. I wish I would have realized earlier (before my youngest was 9 😉 )

      I hope my book does come out one day so you can read it! I would love to have your thoughts on it.

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    • Taking responsibility is important to living a good life (good in both the sense of enjoying your life and in the sense of your life being a blessing to others).

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  2. I agree with you here. I think it takes some growing, learning, and making mistakes to know how to honestly take responsibility for anything.
    I too do have an issue sometimes with connecting all too much with characters in my books that I am involved with. Mourn your loss, and know that it’s not worth forgetting- but as with any death, time heals all.

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    • Thanks for the condolences. I find it interesting (and a little strange, quite frankly) how this has affected me.

      As for responsibility, I agree with you and I think a good responsible role model can make a huge difference as well.

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  3. Our characters aren’t figments of our imagination. They’re real in a way, they exist in some weird dimension, and we love them, so I understand your pain.

    There’s a very painful moment in my novel, that I had to write, and to have to describe someone’s pain and fear during these moments, was heart-wrenching. It is only when you feel THAT much emotion for your characters that you know you’re on the right track.

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  4. I do think it’s interesting when people assume we’re ‘God’ in or novels and what we say goes. Our characters make decisions on their own–all of them do. If one decides to kill the other, it’s not because we wanted it and it can be shocking. It happened to me. All I could do was cry.

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  5. I agree, you create a character but then it can assume a life of it’s own. If something happens to it it can feel devastating. Good luck with the book by the way. Keep us posted

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