Sunday, 22 April 2012

Always in my heart

I recently finished my latest book, Always in my Heart, which I am especially happy with.  It was an intense and emotional experience and in the first draft , one of  my main, and most loveable, characters (Alice) is killed in a tragic accident.  Both my editor and publisher loved the book but they also loved the character and didn’t want her to die.  They thought it would have an adverse effect on the other characters and my readers.  So I was asked to rewrite the ending so that she lives. 

This was not a situation I had found myself in before.   At first, I wasn’t too sure about changing anything.   I was pleased with my original ending and reluctant to alter it.  Then I did some soul searching and examined my motives for killing off Alice.  They weren’t good.  Events in my personal life had caused me to feel cynical.  By having my character die it was like saying, “Life can be hard, and bad things happen to good people.  Get used to it.”  I was trying to push a harsh message through, but for the wrong reasons.

After a lot of consideration, I found a way to rewrite my story.  I’m really pleased I did. Alice lives, and my agent and publisher were happy too.  I have a new perspective on the story and am bubbling with ideas for the sequels.

A further reflection: writers can play god,  deciding the fate of their characters.  It’s a fantasy role, but maybe it’s part of why we write, some quirk of our psychological make-up;  that power, that control, which we lack in everyday events.  If only real life were life that.  If only we could rewrite real life, so we can bring back the people we love and have lost forever.  

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