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The Pangs Of Choice

Tantz_Aerine at 12:00AM, June 22, 2019

Today, I can't write about anything but something slightly personal. Without Moonlight only has two chapters to finish. It's incredible (and it'll still take time even with my regular updates to get to the last page) and exciting, but it's also got me thinking about everything that took place in it, and is going to take place in it until the end.

It's the pangs of choice, really. It's not regret, because I don't regret the choices I have made in telling this story that is so close to my heart. But man… sometimes… sometimes how I wish I'd been a little more lenient to my own wishes.

It's been more than a year now since one of my favourite characters in WM died (spoiler?). I hated to do it at the time, but I knew in my heart that it was the right way to go, given the circumstances, the characters and the setup.

But last week it hit me so bad, this ‘what if’ that came to mind, about how smoothly, how easily things could have gone had this one character not died, how a good few things would turn out better for the rest of the cast and the domino effect in their lives wouldn't be so harsh. His absence is like a big gaping hole and I miss him and how efficient he'd be in nearly everything.

And yet, though I miss him so, though I really wish I'd kept him alive it feels correct that I allowed him to die, because that's what the story demanded, and that's how so many other things that wouldn't be pushed to their limits, now will be. It makes for a better story, it makes for a more realistic story as well, because often, that's the way we feel when people in our lives are gone forever.

In that way, perhaps, the story rings truer in other peoples' hearts as well. And in that same way, perhaps that one character's impact is even bigger than it would be had I given him plot armor and kept him going.

I don't have regrets, but I do get pangs of longing.

As it is now, I have to resort to writing and drawing about his past, which is something I've started to do for my patrons, and that gives me some solace. Maybe. Sometimes.

Have you ever felt this way about your characters? What did you do when it came to important decisions about them?

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AmeliaP at 2:22PM, June 27, 2019

Two more chapters to finish? Time flies when we read good stories. " What did you do when it came to important decisions about them?" How each event can impact the whole story will determine my approach. If dead characters make the story harder to tell, I won't kill them. It means a death has to add "value" to the protagonist's dilemma and obstacles (which determines the events to overcome the obstacles and, as you know, it moves the plot forward).

bravo1102 at 7:54AM, June 23, 2019

Without Moonlight is a prime example of that. The deaths have served to define others and who they are and what they will do.

bravo1102 at 7:52AM, June 23, 2019

Sometimes a death in of of itself appears meaningless. But when seen in context it means everything. It's not the death itself, it's the meaning assigned to it in the story that matters. It can be seen as not about the death, but in how others live on.

dueeast at 12:53PM, June 22, 2019

I have had that happen before, in comics and now in my novels. It's the writer's gift and the writer's curse at the same time. One character's death, whether noble or needless, can change the course of a story and reverberate throughout so many other character's lives. And of course it devastates the writer. How can it not? They're a part of you, yet you had to kill them. It's a paradox of sorts. But it's a good one. Excellent post, Tantz. And Without Moonlight is a great comic. To the journey! :)

ShaRose49 at 11:26AM, June 22, 2019

I don’t regret any deaths I’ve allowed, although when I first started I just killed off characters because I thought that was supposed to happen in this kind of a story, but I quickly realized that it was stupid to kill off characters without a good reason. Of course, some good reasons have come up since then... It’s more like where I think about what would have happened if I let two characters be together in spite of an age gap or something, but I know it wouldn’t have worked, it would just have been really fun though. I guess I do have one character who eventually dies which effects the story so much and is so sad that sometimes it just hurts a lot and I wonder what the story would look like if they lived. But I know the story wouldn’t be where it is today without that death happening. Like you said, it’s realistic. Thanks for sharing your heart with us!

usedbooks at 3:56AM, June 22, 2019

(I feel like ending deaths are more flexible. Mid-story and origin story deaths often guide or motivate the course of a story and can be necessary. That said, my webcomic is fully set for a sequel series, so the ending is pretty important.)

usedbooks at 3:50AM, June 22, 2019

Tbh, the character I miss most suffered death-by-origin-story. She hasn't been alive at all and exists only in flashbacks. I sort of wish I had her around, because she's one of my favorites. (Like Seiko but a kickass crime fighter with a lot of style and limitless courage.) Her death motivated a lot of things though.

usedbooks at 3:45AM, June 22, 2019

About my earliest drafts for my Used Books finale, yes. But I have done some refiguring and it's set to be everything I want as a writer and a fan. (My ending is a long way off though. It is helping to guide all my story lines at this point.) I had one sacrifice that was super impactful, but I'm not going to stand for (and I realized that another character wouldn't stand for either, so altering it got her back in character). Maybe I'll end up differently when the time comes, but we'll see. I don't have an actual script yet, still fitting pieces together.

anonymous at 1:04AM, June 22, 2019

there is a character I am about to kill off, (I'm NOT saying who!)And I hate thinking about it. the character has been around in my comics for a long time, and I already miss the character.But, like you said, it sounds correct for the character to go.

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