Wednesday, March 9, 2011 | By: Megan Held

Dealing With Death

Sorry for misleading you, but this is about dealing with death while writing. It is not easy to have a death in a book. Time, thought, pain and sadness is felt by the writer.

I may write crime novels and thrillers, but deciding to have a character die still takes a toll on me. It is heartbreaking because as you write the reactions, you feel what the characters are feeling. If they cry you can beat that you may feel the need to cry.

Even if you think you are desensitized and cannot really feel emotions, you will feel them. If you feel them then you know you are writing about death correctly. I am not going to act like I am tough, I just had a person die in one of my books and had to resist crying. Honestly, when I do have to kill someone off I tend to call or talk to people because I am upset.

Here is my advice I have learnt about writing about death, whether to make it realistic:

    1. Do not make it so that no one cries. Any death will have at least one person crying.
    2. Make it realistic for your story. Don’t make it so that an alien sucked the person’s brains out in a love story.
    3. Don’t make the character take hours to die by describing every moment unless it is essential. No reader will want to feel that much heartache reading. Torture, that is fine; actually dying, not fine.
    4. Make the reader see and feel the emotions felt. The more emotions that people can picture and feel the better the story. It will make the reader become a part of it.
    5. If you don’t feel it, the reader won’t either. This is my main rule that if you can take from these, this is the one. You should suffer more actually because in a sense, you are doing the dirty work.

So, you have written the painful scene and it has affected you. Here are some methods to help get over the death. For most deaths I have become accustomed to getting over it after I have written it, but some take longer to get over. Here are some pieces of advice:

    1. Talk to someone. I tend to call the hubbie or my mom. My mom just tells me I had to do it for the story and calms me down. Hubbie gets my mind away from it. Find people you can talk to, and they will be your muse to getting over the death.
    2. Take a walk. It clears your mind. Whether the walk be 3 minutes or an hour. Does not matter.
    3. Take a shower or bath. It helps relax the body and mind.
    4. Watch T.V., listen to music, distract the mind. Focusing on something else will help drain out the thoughts.
    5. Keep writing. This may not seem to connect with the other ones, but sometimes continuing on with the story will help its progression and also help get over the death. I tend to do this the most because the death makes me want to keep writing.

Hope my advice helps. This can work for more than just death. It can work with break-ups, loss of an object, anything that requires a rational decision that causes emotional strain.

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