Wednesday, April 3, 2019

I'm truly sorry for killing a character you don't care about

There is an understood trust relationship between writers and their readers. Writers make story promises, and readers trust that those promises will be fulfilled. When writers fail to deliver what was promised, readers feel understandably betrayed.

I think I breached that trust, and I hate it. And I'm sorry.

Character death should always be meaningful and emotional and unavoidable. But I killed a secondary character in Perfect Gravity -- I won't spoil it and say who -- with no warning and without giving that character sufficient screen time in that particular story. It was a noob move and pretty awful.

Here's how it happened. I needed a particular character to die at a particular point in order to move several other character arcs where they needed to go in the next book, and to make the series arc work. However, I originally thought up the overall series as the ongoing adventures of Mari and Heron, with the sphere of secondary characters surrounding them. The character death at the end of Perfect Gravity would have meant something entirely different if Mari and Heron had been my POV characters at that point. But in between writing Wanted and Wired and Perfect Gravity, we decided to structure the series as presenting a new couple and their HEA in each book. So when we got to the character death I'm talking about, the people telling the story at that point weren't the people most invested, and the moment didn't have the emotional resonance that it really needed.

I still think Perfect Gravity is a solid book. It does hit some emotional highs and lows for the protagonists. Its ending does balance the HEA requirement of a romance with the darkness and uncertainty needed for the middle tale of a trilogy. 

But that one character -- and readers -- deserved better. I'm sorry for letting y'all down.

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