Who Have You Killed Lately?

As the blog develops I am going to make small tweaks and changes. We’ve already set up the rule about Friday’s with regards to a long, thought provoking post. Monday’s are apparently going to be humorous days in one way or another. This comes from all of those “Friday Funnies” things you see. Even though the alliteration doesn’t work quite as well with Monday and Funny (okay, so it doesn’t work at all) but I figured, who needs help getting through a Friday, it’s Mondays when we really drag our butts.

This brought up a suggestion that a reader suggested via email. He wanted me to address finding the energy to get the work done. While that topic is one or more Friday posts, the idea that we could all use a “Kick in the pants” was not lost on me. And so, I think that I’ll try to offer up short writerly thoughts on some if not all of the in between days. I’ll offer them merely as something to keep in mind or hopefully spur a new line of thinking in your writing. Our first one is ….

Who Have You Killed Lately?

All stories that keep us turning pages are wrought with conflict. The amount of conflict is directly proportional to the amount of risk involved. And what’s the ultimate risk … well, that depends on what you’re writing. It could be death, the end of the world, the end of several worlds, the end of all life everywhere, or maybe even the death of God (see His Dark Materials). But whatever that risk is, it needs to not only be seen by your Pro, but felt by them as well.

George R. R. Martin is legendary for this. Although this pisses some of his readers off, he makes his worlds as realistic as possible by exempting no one from ultimate risk. You could be happily playing along in the head of your new favorite character when wham they’re dead. Sorry folks, that’s life. Sometimes you get to stick around for a while, sometimes not.

So, that’s our question for the day, Who have you killed lately? Mind you, you don’t actually have to kill someone … in your story (for those of you thinking in real life, please see a therapist, NOW). But seriously, how have you reinforced in the mind of both your reader and your character that there is a threat to your protagonist’s happily ever after moment?

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