How to kill your darlings?

Decisions, decisions.

We all know they have to die. I mean, yeah, we love them, but the show must go on. You should never shy away from killing off a character. Sometimes, things have to happen, and here’s why?

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The first thing I always consider is who is loved in my cast. Who is hated? Who wouldn’t be missed? THIS is why it’s necessary to kill darlings, and not the guy next door. If there isn’t a big enough pay off emotionally, they will have died in vain. It will have meant nothing.

Who serves the story? Who doesn’t? 

Some characters can only be developed so far, and we all know them when we see them. In Redemption Burning, Beezer is a very killable character because he creates a conflicted emotion in his death. He leaves behind grief that serves my story better than his life did. It was a valiant end.

Loss hurts sometimes. 

But, you can’t destroy your readers. You just want to damage them a little. For this reason, I don’t recommend going all LL Martin on everyone. Loss of characters can lead to emotional fatigue in readers. The primary character who is much beloved might be a dangerous choice.

How they die matters.

One of the things I’ve told my writer son, again and again. Don’t waste lives on nothing, and how someone dies says as much about their contribution to a story as their role did in life. Most of my books involve war, so there’s no shortage of ways to kill a man.

However, the way you pull that trigger can be pivotal. What kind of death do they have? Valiant, senseless, romantic, dramatic, gory, betrayed. All of these emotions can dominate that last moment of your characters existence and make them a pivot point for someone else. Their death can mark one or many.

Death is not the end.

Oh, no, it’s not.

A dead character becomes canon in a series. They become, dare I say it, a fixed point in space and time. That moment defines how other characters react, how plot points are devised, and it forever changes your story somehow. (Because we don’t kill darlings for no reason, right?) That’s how you give your reader the closure they need on a character death; you take that death and spin it into the tapestry.

Call me baby.

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Call me love.

Call me baby.

It’s a drug that stays in the system; after the high, after the fall.

You wake up in the ER dazed and calling out for the thing that put you there. What’s that about?

Shoot me with a needle, swallow all the pills, and it won’t change anything. I will still want you.

Correction: I will still want the idea of you. Soft words in dirty sheets and pet names that should have meant something.

There’s a path of memory that only leads the one way, and, at its end, I can still hear a whisper at my neck.

Go again, love?

I’ll follow a trail of breadcrumbs straight to a witch’s pot at the memory of those soft lies.

Honey, I said I would, didn’t I?

You did. You said everything and nothing. Everything and nothing, punctuated with baby and edited into a seductive soundtrack.

It isn’t the lies I miss. Truly. It’s that illusion of safety in the words.

There, baby, right there. 

Today, I bought groceries, and I took the kids to school. I managed to slip out of a cold bed without hitting snooze. I went to work.

Nobody called me baby. I survived it.

Barely.

Copyright 2018 Jolie Mason/ jmasonbooks.

Check out my Radish feature this morning

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This is my #secondchance romance on #radish, and it’s on a feature this week. Full disclosure, this was the book that got me started on this publishing addiction.  There was this trilogy in my head that had to get out, starting with Ari.

So, give her a chance, and, while you’re at it, try out the app for free with my book. I’m really enjoying it. Okay, back to the grindstone. There are shifters waiting.

Starting over

That’s been the theme of this week, which is a little ironic. Ironic because, I hate new year’s resolutions. Hate them. They just seem so arbitrary. You can’t resolve more on January first than you can on December thirtieth. You have the same amount of resolved on both days.

But, I want to do this more as myself and less as “the author”. I’m at a complete loss when I’m just being “the author”. I don’t know what to talk about or what I want to say. Sometimes, if I do, I censor that because others might not like it.

No more of that. It’s time to do this strictly as myself. That might look a little bit country with a side of Starbucks, and that’s okay. I’m okay with that.

There will be more scifi at some point, but there will also be a bit more of my own world in there, beginning with my Southern Gothic series on Radish. To sign up to receive a very sparse newsletter for updates you can do that here:

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Might I Suggest…

Brother Mine

Sometimes, love chooses you. In a future world where aliens are hated, loving one is the most dangerous thing a girl can do. Mal Renata was born with the proverbial silver spoon in her mouth, but it never stopped her from becoming the voice of the Braxian people. As an activist fighting off mankind’s inevitable slide into cruelty and prejudice, she wants to stop the Scourge bill from becoming law, but how can she do that, if the bill’s supporters keep dying? Public outcry wants someone to pay, so she intends to give them someone.

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The Carter Gazette

The first installment of my Southern Gothic stories is releasing on #radish_fiction now. As you will see, Adra discovers her town has secrets she never expected. Shifters and magic were always here, but she never saw it.

So what’s Carter really like then?

Well, it’s built on a section of land that’s home to Indian burial mounds, and old civil war battle site nearby and countless generations of love, work and tragedy. It’s the size of a postage stamp, but it’s got color. newmadrid_riverboat.jpg

A lot of the homes are more than a hundred years old, but nothing goes back past the Great New Madrid earthquake. These rumbles in 1811-12 pretty much wiped out the area. Entire towns just sank into the river. And, that was just for starters; flooding, quicksand, the river ran backwards til it washed back in and engulfed the delta land. This is the land the small town of Carter is built on, and the history that Adra herself was raised on. It’s exactly like every small southern town you ever saw, but more. It’s insulated, and all of this creates a perfect backdrop for a shifter clan trying to hide who they are from the world.

You can find Tiny Crosses, the first in the series, at this link:

https://radish.app.link/xX1NzOpB2I

Well, that was Christmas

The holiday has gone by, and a gray, gloomy January is about to settle on the south. You’re gonna need some reads. I thought I’d share some of my favorite new reads on Radish with you. Red Photo Science Fiction Book Cover

There is, of course, my scifi freebie (I’m partial to this one). Home is the sailor is available everywhere for free, and begins the story of the Carry Bell, one of my favorite space ships of all time, as it passes through the hands of its crew.

It’s a second chance for them…
Captain Aricka Badu left Taarken Prime twelve years ago for very good reasons, and she seldom goes back. It was supposed to be a short run, but, between the pirates, a brewing civil war and her ex, she may never get to leave.
 
Caden Carnes hadn’t seen Ari in twelve years, but he’d never stopped thinking about her. Given their past, it wasn’t exactly surprising she stayed away. What was surprising was seeing her back on Taarken…ever, the mining planet she’d abandoned along with her lover and her family.
 
Her brother’s mining hauler is missing and Caden asks for Ari’s assistance along with her ship to go find it. One discovery leads to another, until all their secrets are out. Caden and Ari don’t have long to discover the most important thing in the universe; You can actually go home again. If you love space opera with a dash of humor and a bit of romance, okay a lot of romance, you will love this series.
 
Come along… Find your home.

Murder and Mistletoe

Enjoy the end of the holiday season with murder and mayhem. Muahaha. This is the new offering from AR Declerck, one of my peeps. Love that girl and love her books.

American seamstress Franny Calico finds herself in the middle of a mystery once again, when her friend goes missing from the midnight train to Bordeaux. With the help of handsome conductor, Warburton Smith, and Inspector Gustalt she will once again leap head-long into danger to solve the crime!

 

Tales from the front porch

Where we live, it’s winter, if you can call this that. It is rainy and in the fifties, and it’s muddy. This is the true Southern Christmas. Mud pies, not snowmen.

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It’s in this backdrop that I’m trying to write a Summer adventure in paranormal activity. It should be interesting. The upside is the South is always this way. They say Winter is Coming, but I haven’t seen hide nor hair of it yet.

And yet, the tree is up, the ceramic snowmen are EVERYwhere, and the presents are wrapped under the tree in the busiest paper I could find. We went full on seventies retro this year. Ha.

It’s a contrast when I write about the future. In fact, I find it easier sometimes to write space opera solely from a place of imagination, simply because the current setting tends to interfere with my descriptive in contemporary stories.  Sitting here with my coffee brewing this morning, I’m feeling nostalgic, and wanting to put that down. Basically, I’m resisting the urge to start an Adra short because I have to finish her first story. Therefore, y’all get all my nostalgia.

When I was a kid, Christmas was for loading up in a station wagon and heading to Doniphan, MO. If you don’t know it, you should see it. It’s a time capsule. It’s a replica of Mayberry without the picture perfect people who don’t really exist. It’s an old creepy courthouse that’s seen everything surrounded by a host of tiny small businesses on a perfect circle.

I can’t even find a wiki page on it to show you, but I miss those simple days. For us the holiday was all about food, I’ve tried to change that for my kids. Ha. That’s a southern thing that leads to many days of bemoaning the dress size.

My grandpa was small town famous. His name was Johnny Aggans, and he ran the shoe shop. He was an old fashioned cobbler, and, to this day, the smell of shoe polish makes my eyes tear up.

Everyone came to Johnny’s shoe shop to sit and have an old style glass coke from the vending machine. They sat in a row like birds on a high wire, and hid from their wives, I remember one old guy saying. I remember it like it was yesterday. I would play behind the counter and listen to them all drone on. It was the background noise of my childhood, that and the loud click clack of that old shoe repair machine in his shop as he polished and sanded edges.

I miss him. I miss that whole simple time. You may see a shoe repair in one of my stories. You will definitely see pictures of my life from years ago. I’m enjoying recreating the place I grew up, and I hope you enjoy it as well.

So, if I don’t see you again this month – Have the best of holidays!

Time to write…

Jolie.