I’m a romance author, so killing off characters is really outside my comfort zone. Oh, I’ve done it. Remember Charlie Miles, Julie Miles’s late husband in Sex and the Widow Miles? Charlie had to go if Julie was going to have a story and Julie was crying out for a story, so Charlie’s heart blew out and Julie’s story started a year later. In The Summer of Second Chances, I seriously considered knocking off Dale—Sophie Russo’s mother’s wicked boyfriend, but that wasn’t necessary. The story ended just fine when he went to jail for being a thug, and Henry and Sophie lived happily ever after. So did her mom, Eva.
But in my current work-in-progress, I’m going to have to off a bad guy, and I’m trying to decide the best way to accomplish that. In Saving Sarah, the heroine’s abusive ex-husband has gotten out of jail and is trying to track her down. I’m getting to the point in the story where the two of them are going to have their “dark moment.” He has to die or her happily-ever-after ain’t ever gonna happen, but here’s the catch. Evil as the guy is and as much as Sarah might like to be the one who puts a bullet through her ex’s heart, she can’t do it. Well, I can’t let her do it—she’d have to live with that for the rest of her life and it would be on her soul forever.
Same for our hero—Tony—he can’t do the deed either, even though he’s a deputy sheriff and we’d all have no problem with him shooting the wicked ex. I can’t let Tony save Sarah that way—Sarah has to save Sarah, although Tony can certainly be there to cheer her on and support her. But if he knocks off the ex, then that’s there in his relationship with Sarah forever. Make sense?
So . . . I’m debating—heart attack or car wreck? Whatever happens to the creep, it has to be a result of his own fit of rage—his own inability to control himself. So running a Stop sign and getting hit by a semi makes sense. A heart attack or stroke because his blood pressure is out of bounds might be a good way to go, or speeding and driving into a tree or the bay works too. I’m thinking . . . I’ll keep you posted.
The Tuesday Question is for writers—have you ever killed off a character? How’d you do it?