I ran into a dilemma today that crops up from time to time in my writing. There’s a character in the book I’m working on who needs to die. I didn’t really make a conscious decision to kill him off. I never even thought much about it. I just knew instinctively that he was one of the characters who wouldn’t survive the book. Now that I’m farther into the manuscript, I even know how he ought to meet his end, right down to some of the dialogue.
But here’s the problem: I like him. He’s fun to write. And unlike some of the other characters, he hasn’t really done anything to deserve the gruesome death I have planned for him. I don’t want to keep him around for other books, mind you. He’s just a supporting character in this one particular plot and has no place in future books in the series. There’s still a part of me that would like to see him make it through alive.
Luckily, I still have seventy or eighty pages to go in this manuscript, and if he does die, it’ll be fairly late, so I don’t have to decide right away. It’s a hard decision, because killing him off would make for a pretty effective moment in the story, I think.
And they say doctors have God complexes.