Kill, kill, kill!

It’s been a slowish start to writing this year. I’ve lost my mojo in general this week. Blame it on winter. Blame it on eight months of unemployment. I do feel more inspired to write than do most other things though, so I eke it out when I can.

I sat down after xmas to carry on with the last part of the first draft of City of Djinn but realised I had not done enough planning and didn’t really know where to start. I made a good crack at the planning, plus resolving some earlier plot, character and setting issues during a couple of 6-hour coach journeys (they’re good for something at least).

I’ve been pondering ways to improve the story I’ve already written and increase dramatic conflict. The 50,000 words I wrote for nanowrimo 2011 (essentially the middle third of the story) were a bit drawn out and lacking in excitement. I didn’t feel I really inhabited the story the way I did with the first third.

One thing I’ve decided to do is kill off two minor characters. This is partly to increase the sense of danger and tension and partly because I’d ended up with a few too many of these minor characters and I need clean things up a bit. I now have to write the death scenes – one will be killed during an interrogation to try to get another character to reveal something. The other will die during a big fight that kicks off the last third of the novel.

I’m excited by the storytelling and character development potential of these two deaths but, to be honest, I’m not particularly looking forward to writing them. Writing is a lot like acting – you have to really get in the heads of your characters to make them authentic and believable – so it’s always draining killing off characters. I know they’re not real, but it still feels wrong! There’s also often the tendency to try to find a way to wriggle out of it.

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