This spring, I finished Book #5, Caught Between, and although I knew it was coming and had prepared myself, it still sucked when I had to write about the murder of one of my regular characters. This was a character that I'd grown to respect and like quite a bit, especially during Book #3, and it hurt to say goodbye.
I'd put off writing that one chapter FOREVER, coming up with excuses like: Tonight's a good night to scrub the bathroom floor with a toothbrush, or This afternoon, I really need to replace the lining in every drawer in the entire house, or that old standby, I'm reading a great book and I have to finish this really exciting part which is 20 chapters long.
At night in bed I'd told myself that the death was necessary to the overall arc of the series itself, and that I needed to man up and just write it already. Still, I found myself working on other projects, after all, Fiddler on the Roof wasn't going to costume itself.
I'd known from the first stages of planning who the murderer would be and how it would affect the characters left behind, and that upset me too. The murder would be brutal and the affect it had would be dramatic. None of that helped push me toward writing that chapter.
I haven't been writing for long. I started because I felt I wanted to express myself in a genre that I've loved for a very long time, and because I felt I had something to say to young adults. I've thrown my whole heart into Jackie and Garrett's story and I've enjoyed (almost) every minute.
So it occurred to me that maybe I'm too involved with my characters; that I should pull back and write with more detachment.
What actually got me seated once more in front of my laptop and wrting that chapter was the knowledge that it was ok for me to feel sad about his death. He was a good guy who'd had a tough life, just like so many of the people I've met throughout my life. Just because he's a character in a book, it doesn't mean that I can't mourn his passing or feel sad for the people left behind who cared for him.
So in the end, he died to move the plot in the direction in which it needed to go. My Rogues readers will, hopefully, forgive me. I'll miss him.