Over the course of watching a movie, you may come to feel enough for a character that you feel a bit damp in the eyes if it dies.
Over the course of reading a novel, it gets even more intense, because you feel like you’ve lived with this person (or as this person) for an extensive time. When they die it’s like losing a real person in your life, because these characters are real to you.
Well, when you’re the writer, it is a hundredfold worse. You created these characters. You know them inside and out. You relish writing their every word. You come to love them like you love a living being. And they are alive. They’re alive in your mind and your heart.
So when you kill one, oh my fucking God does it hurt.
You will not be ready for this. Nothing can prepare you for this.
I had to stop writing. I had to just sit there and just weep in actual grief. This is nothing like laughing at your own jokes at a party. If your own writing doesn’t make you feel something then holy shit do you suck or you’re a sociopath, one of the two.
All this loving effort I had put into this character and now it had to die. You have to have those “OH NO THEY DIDN’T” moments in your story. People making terrible mistakes is the juice that powers fiction.
Sometimes, you have to kick people in the heart.
But everything you dish out for your reader, you as the writer feel ten times more.
When I first began this journey, I thought about how cool it would be to have a book at the end of the process. I had no idea I would go through some of the most intense emotional states I have ever experienced in my life just writing a novel. I can only hope that I am competent enough that even a fraction of it comes through for readers.