Schroedinger’s Characters (6/1/2009)

Someone died last night. At least, I think they did. Actually, they might have been dead all the time. I’m not sure one way or the other and it’s quite hard to tell. And given that they’re an entirely fictional creation existing only in my head and on bits of virtual paper, it’s a bit weird.

See, as well as the published reviews, I’ve had a little stack of informal comments back from people who’ve read The Adamantine Palace. “I’m really looking forward to finding out more about X” was an early comment that caught my attention. That’s interesting, I thought. Not much chance of that given that X is dead. Admittedly, X dies ‘off-screen.’ I didn’t actually write it. I could bring X back if I wanted to! Wow! The god complex that lurks in one of the community flats in my head woke up and cackled for a bit before the men in the white coats turned up with some sedatives. No no. X is dead and gone, I thought. Leave it be.

Abd then, a little later, came another casual comment. I like the way you weren’t afraid to kill off characters like Y and Z. There wasn’t much doubt about Y. Y gets eaten by a dragon. There’s not much coming back from being eaten by a dragon. But it was a bit surprised to learn that Z was dead. Alarmed, in fact, as Z was a moderately significant character with multiple appearances throughout Kign of the Crags. How could Z be dead? I was still writing them. They were still walking and talking. Wouldn’t I have noticed if they were dead? I don’t recall having the undead feature in my plot. Not yet, anyway.

And yet, on reflection, they might well have been right and I might be wrong. Z might well be dead. Which will mean excising them from the whole of King of the Crags, which is going to be a right nuisance.

I’ve had characters do things I didn’t want before. I’ve had characters insist on dying when they were supposed to stay alive. But a character getting snuiffed out and then pretending not to be dead for an entire sequel? This is new territory. Who’s in charge here?

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One Response to “Schroedinger’s Characters (6/1/2009)”

  1. Andrew M. says:

    Chuckle chuckle. Characters just don’t listen sometimes, do they?

    Looking forward to reading TAP when it comes out.

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