Writing Thoughts

Wyrdsmiths are saying interesting things about writing humor. Lots of people with multiple perspectives.

And Eleanor Arnason is talking about why she doesn’t kill characters. I’m with her on this one, but for different reasons. Too many times, killing a character feels like tacking on an artificial cost to the story. Yeah, I know, people die in real life. But characters rarely go to the bathroom in fiction because it doesn’t serve any purpose in the story. If a death doesn’t serve a story purpose that can’t be served any other way, it feels artificial. I feel cheated.

Spoiler alert: If you haven’t read War for the Oaks, well, why not? Go read it. The illustration will be stronger for it.

War for the Oaks is where I first noticed the problem. When Willie dies, it doesn’t do anything that injuring him (making him less attractive, taking his ability to play) wouldn’t do. In the process, it stops his story. And he was just getting interesting–in ways that maiming him could have amplified.


So if you’re going to kill your characters, make it part of their story. Make sure it doesn’t derail your own. Or just leave them alive. It isn’t always the weaker choice.

Writing Thoughts


…is not my friend. But that doesn’t stop it from hanging around hoping, no matter how sick or tired I am. I’ve tried ignoring it. Doesn’t work. Damn thing can’t take a hint. I think I’ll try being mean next.

Wish me luck.

Oh, and for the record, I don’t really hate the ice cream truck. I just wish it weren’t audible four blocks away and didn’t hang around our corner for fifteen minutes at a time…and didn’t use a bad midi (not redundant) version of “La Cucaracha” to attract customers. Okay, maybe I do hate it a little.