Every time I write a book these days, I’m tempted to kill off a major character. Why? Because it’s an unwritten rule you don’t, so of course I want to break that rule. I’m rebellious that way.
You can’t see it coming though. It has to be a surprise. That way, it shocks. It disturbs. It dismays. It may even anger. But it’ll stick with you a lot longer than any HEA will.
I don’t read a lot in the genre. One, I don’t have much spare time. Two, so many books sound exactly the same as they are written to formula. Three, I consider few of them well written. This is where being an editor hurts, ’cause I see everything that was missed by author and publisher, but I’m not only talking about grammatical crap. I’m also referring to character and story development.
I don’t remember the plot or characters of the last m/m book I read. I do, however, remember Soulless, Something Different, Gay for Pay, and Protection by T Baggins. The writing is excellent. The characters are well written. And in two of the books, she breaks rules. I’m going to remember Protection for a long time. The author was not afraid to take chances, break the rules.
In the hands of a lesser writer, her stories may not have impressed me as much, but she has the skill to pull it off, all of it, even the main character in Soulless. I will read anything this writer publishes, knowing I’m going to be taken on a wonderful, often unexpected ride.
And that brings me to Game of Thrones. I don’t have HBO. I’ve been watching it on DVDs from Netflix. Tomorrow, I get the last episode of season three. The fourth season begins on HBO in a couple weeks.
Somehow, I missed all the hoopla around the episode titled “The Rains of Castamere,” otherwise known as the Red Wedding. SPOILER ALERT! Read no farther if you haven’t yet seen this and plan to.
I came to it fresh, and it packed one hell of a wallop. I sat up, I stared, I said, “What…?” I cringed. I couldn’t look away. I almost couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
They did something totally unexpected and blew me away. They made me feel, something that is all too rare in entertainment these days.
It took some big balls for the writer and production people to present this to the viewer. In one fell swoop, they unflinchingly killed off three main characters. Blood flowed like a river. It also spurted and shot and leaped. 😉
It was one of the greatest viewing pleasures in my life! YES! Do something different. Take chances. People die, and sometimes they’re the main characters. I loved it, but not until it was over. During the scene, I was freaking out. I mean, it starts with someone repeatedly shoving a knife into the belly of a pregnant woman. That was one hell of a shock, and the intensity doesn’t end there.
So yeah, during, I was glued to the TV, nerves jangling. It was only after I shut off the blu-ray player and chatted with a friend who is also watching the series that I was able to acknowledge and appreciate the bravery in filming something like that.
Kudos to everyone involved. That was superlative storytelling, not because characters died but because they weren’t afraid to break the rules. People die all the time in GofT. They get tortured. They suffer. But when you kill three MAIN characters? Oh yeah. Terrific. 🙂
I want to be that brave in my writing. I want to take chances. I want to shock and surprise. I don’t want to write another book the reader finishes and instantly forgets.