Outlining my story has been a blast this past month. It’s also been fascinating, since I’m letting my characters have a bigger say in their lives than I usually do. In fact, half of the time, I couldn’t finish the outline until I figured out who my characters truly are.
I was having a fairly major problem with my climax. I had two villains, and I wasn’t sure who the truly evil villain was. I knew one of them was responsible for the endemic, I wasn’t sure who. Then I worked on fleshing out my characters, figuring out what makes them tick, and their inner secrets. Once I did that, the climax started to come together.
The biggest surprise came when I worked on one of my secondary characters, the brother of my main character. I knew he was always there, he was supportive, got into my main character's schemes, but I didn’t know anything else about him.
Then I asked him his deepest secret.
Wow, was that an explosive question. Actually, with all of my characters. None of them wanted to tell me, but at the same time, once I found out their secret, I discovered more about then than I expected. This character had fallen in love with a girl and his father got rid of her because of it. Once I found out about the girl, I started exploring her storyline, and I discovered that she was in the story as well. She was a major part of the story, and I hadn’t even known who she was.
I fell in love with her almost immediately. She was cute, she was spunky, and she had a tragic backstory.
Just as soon as I decided I liked her, I discovered the next part of the plot. She dies. It was devastating. She didn’t deserve it. I searched for any other way to keep her from dying, but it kept circling back to the necessity of her death.
I’ve had a hard time killing off characters, and this is the first time that I knew it had to happen, to move the story forward.
How about the rest of you? Do you find it easy to kill of your characters?