We've recently lost a family member . . . as well as a highly valued blog follower . . . and yesterday we attended his funeral and gave him a good send off (why is it, when you concentrate really hard on not crying, you end up blubbering all over the place twice as bad? Good job my sister came equipped with a pack of tissues).
I didn't realise how big the family had grown. He left a grand total of 18 grandchildren. Some of these stood up at the funeral and read their own pieces in honour of his memory. That was the hardest part to listen to and watch when you're trying not to cry, but it was nice.
This got me thinking about death in writing. It's true what they say. You have to really hate the characters you write about. It's the hardest thing to recover from when you lose someone close to you, so why do we willingly put our characters through such pain? Why do we create someone for our protagonist to love and then cruelly rip them away - and sometimes, depending on the genre, in the most gruesome fashion?
I've created many characters who've had their lives shattered by the death of a loved one. I'd hate to meet them in person. God knows what fate they'd bestow upon me. But no matter how hard the subject is in real life, people still like reading about it in fiction.
It's called life. People can relate to it, and you can easily connect with readers using powerful, evocative emotions. By reading about a fictional death can make them realise how lucky they are to have the people they love in their lives - and make them remember those who have gone with a smile.
But I write fantasy and horror. I doubt whether some of my deaths will bring a smile to their face . . . lol . . . And I am, despite writing a piece at the moment, planning and conjuring the idea for my next manuscript which involves an assassin and, needless to say, lots of death. So I must be one wicked person . . .