In most of the stories I have written, someone always dies. It’s just how things go in my mind, I may be a tad obsessed with death and the grief it brings. Or the strength that it brings. Most of my characters gain a strength and purpose from the death they have witnessed. Some just gain a load of sadness that slows down their journey.
Death has always had a presence in things that I write and it’s not always a character that dies. And I am sure that most writers can say this about their own writing. Death is always there.
One thing I never thought about was how death actually feels. They say to write what you know. So, how do I write about a character that is stabbed through the chest. How to I show his/her pain and confusion? Also, what do I actually think happens when someone dies? Obviously there are different beliefs as to what happens to a person when they die.
So much goes into a death scene. Does that character feel the pain? Do souls exist and if so, where does that soul go? Does the soul leave the body before it feels the pain? In an instant death, is it really instant for the person who is dying?
So many questions come to the surface when you really think about it. It is never simple for me when writing a death scene. Before long it can become this long drawn out scene that has more detail then it needs. I suddenly channel my inner Stephen King and draw out a death for several pages before it is over.
Than again, I have had a few death scenes where someone dies and two sentences later the chapter ends or the characters move on.
What characters get longer scenes? Obviously you are not going to kill off your main character, unless you are one of those writers that like to ruin the lives of your readers. But the main character can lose someone close to them, some one that was only second to the main character. Does this character get a longer scene than say…Betty, of whom you just introduced and gave a quick back story? Does the main characters mother get a longer death scene then his/her best friend?
I guess it all comes down to what role that death plays in the novel as a whole. For instance, the main character’s mother dies, which causes him/her to go on some kind of rampage or some sick quest to find a new mother.
How do you face a death scene in your own writing?