Death and dying in literature is the hardest part of being an author


“No one knows whether death, which people fear to be the greatest evil, may not be the greatest good.” – Plato

I know I broached this subject before, but it’s really knawing at me, especially now. I am almost done with my third novel of the Forever Avalon series–the end of the first trilogy–and death is hovering around me. I don’t know about other authors, but for me, death is the hardest part of writing. For the past 10 years, I have put my heart and soul into my writing. These characters, that I have so lovingly created, are like family to me and having to kill some of them to move the plot along can be quite difficult.

Some people find comfort in death Helen Keller said, “Death is no more than passing from one room into another. But there’s a difference for me, you know. Because in that other room I shall be able to see.”

Then there are those you want to see dead. Sure, it’s easy to kill the villains, because they’re the bad guys. They’re the ones you want to be foiled, thwarted, even destroyed by the end of the book. To them, death is just the means to an end in their quest for power, fame or dominion over others.

I think J.R.R. Tolkien summed it up best in The Fellowship of the Ring. He wrote, “Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.”

Below is an excerpt from The Dark Tides which demonstrates how death moves the story along; but also, for me, it was one of the hardest pages I’ve ever written. I was in tears as I wrote this part of the story, which is why I want to share it with you now.

* * *

With a wave of her hand, Lady Heather gave the signal as two airships descend from the night sky toward Emmyr. It was the Reaper and the Flying Fancy. Ropes were lowered down for the remaining pirates and goblins to ascend. Captain Avery was lowered down from the Fancy
on a platform for Morgana and Lady Heather to ride up on.

Heather handed Bowen off to one of Avery’s men to hold. Cadhla desperately reached out for her son, who cried as he tried to reach for his mother, but to no avail.

“Heather please, don’t do this!” the Queen pleaded, “Take me instead, just leave my son; please leave him alone! It’s me you want, not him.”

Heather walked over to the Queen, strutting over the dominance of her enemy. “Now why would I want you? I mean, what good is a dead hostage,” she said as she plunged the Dagger of Koram into Cadhla’s chest. Th e Queen fell to her knees, unable to breathe and unable to speak. “The Queen is dead …” Heather shouted sarcastically as she pulled the dagger out.

“… Long live the King!” Heather mocked young Bowen, giving him a curtsey. Cadhla fell backwards to the ground. Hunter tried to help her but he could barely move. He was only able to lift her head gently onto his lap. He wept for Cadhla as his gaze shifted to Bowen as he is hauled
up to the waiting ships.

Avery walked up to the Gil-Gamesh, still being held by the goblins. He drew his sword Crossbones as he approached Bryan, placing the blade under his chin. He lifted the Gil-Gamesh’s head up so he can look into his eyes, cutting a deep gash from his chin to his cheek.

“It would be spiteful to take your eye like you did mine, but you might just need that to find the broach for Morgana,” he cursed the Gil-Gamesh. Without warning, threw his sword at Nevan, plunging the blade deep into his chest. Nevan slumped down onto a shocked Sarafina
and young Thomas.

“You took my right eye, now I took your right hand,” Avery said as he walked over to Nevan and retrieved his blade, leaving Sarafina in despair next to her dying husband. “That’ll do for now!” Avery sheathed his sword and joined Heather and Morgana on the platform.

“One month Gil-Gamesh, until the next new moon … Bring my broach to Idlehorn or your young King dies!” Morgana promised. The platform rose up to the Flying Fancy. As the platform moved, the Dark Tides effect on the people lessened and the people slowly began to recover.

Explosions were heard from the port as the people looked down to see Avery’s ships fire on the port and shipyard, destroying the ships and parts of the port itself. Th e fires burned on throughout the city, leaving everyone in shock.

But the only sound that could be heard was the cries of little Thomas Forest as he spoke his first words to his dying father.

“Daddy …SKU-000941753 Daddy please get up! Mommy, tell Daddy to get up! I’ll say anything you want me too Daddy, just please get up!” the little boy cried, repeating it over and over again. Nevan smiled. He finally heard his son call him Daddy. It’s the last thing he heard as his life faded away.

* * *

The Dark Tides is now available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and iUniverse.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.