Thursday, 8 May 2008

Killing time

I dithered this morning. Should I get out of bed and write or take advantage of the public (well Ipswich area) holiday and sneak in a lie-in? Deciding that it would be truly pitiful to surrender on only day two of the new strategy, I forced myself out of bed. It actually was a really successful morning because the children did sleep in and I got about 90 solid minutes of writing.

What did I do with that time? Well I killed off one of my characters. It was surprisingly traumatic, perhaps because I haven’t murdered any of my characters before. The death was accidental in the book, but very purposeful on my part. I’ve been mulling over the best way to get the Jaeckels really motivated to leave Marburg and seek a new life. The privilege of writing means that I can have absolute control over my character’s lives. Perhaps that is why writing is so appealing – it’s one of the few things that I do absolutely control. So I deliberated, selected, did the deed, wiped away a tear or two and away galloped the storyline. It’s a marvellous thing this writing gig.

I’ve spent the last few days trying to decide whom to kill off – working out whose death would have the most impact and work best in the context of the story. Here were my characters going about their lives while I went about mine. A meeting here, plumbing issues there, building and banking and all the while, ruminating under the surface about who to knock off. No wonder I missed the start of the meeting and spent the day in an abstracted state.

So far I’ve written more in the last 48 hours than I have in the last few months. Now I just need to keep up the hours and the caffeine. I’m not planning on killing off anyone else right now, but I didn’t set out on this story with the idea of killing any of my cherished characters so you never know. As they (you know, them, the ones who know things and probably get out of bed early too) say, “the plot thickens…”

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