This is a spoiler alert on book three’s ending, so if you haven’t read it, do yourself a favor and stop reading here.
One of the first conferences I attended, I listened to a bestselling author tell the audience that great writers were able to kill any character in their story. “No character should be too beloved to die.” I took his words to heart.
At the time, I was working on the third novel for the Rory’s Choice series. I had reached the point where the ending was beginning to take shape. I knew which characters would be involved in the gut-wrenching race up the mountain, and saw an opportunity to prove I wasn’t a mediocre writer.
“I’m going to kill Ryan.” I told my husband one night in bed. He’d been reading my novels to help me with the technical horse and farm stuff, so he knew the story well.
“You sure that’s a good idea.”
For more than an hour I explained my reasoning and how it could shape a very powerful ending. I could see it so clearly, his death would be the ultimate statement. No one would ever be able to say I was a weak author.
“But your audience won’t like it. You’ve spent a major portion of this novel on Ryan’s and Ginny’s relationship. To kill him will be like pulling out the rug from underneath your readers.”
I didn’t care. I was still at the point where I felt like I needed to prove that I wasn’t a joke to other writers.
Then, my husband said, “Isn’t your audience more important?”
Whoa, if that didn’t make me pause, and I’ll be forever grateful. Aren’t you glad too? 🙂 After he talked me down from the proverbial cliff I realized that being willing to kill any character in my book doesn’t always mean that I should.