Forcing the Writing Issue

Now that I’m working full time again, I find myself with time to spare during work hours. Previously, I would use this time to catch up on my internet activity – saving me time when at home. To some extent I’ve started to do this again.

However…

My ability to concentrate, or absorb, posts on blogs and message boards is low. In other words, my attention span is short and I still find many topics to be unimportant, pointless. But that is my problem, no one else’s. Yet I can’t sit at my desk and do nothing. That wouldn’t be healthy for my state of mind. I have to stay busy, or I’ll be swallowed by depression. I can’t allow that.

I thought about picking up on the edit of Cat’s Eyes, but that’s too much, too soon. I’ve been looking at (well, “thinking about” might be closer to the truth) the other unfinished projects I have, but I don’t feel motivated to do any of them.

This morning, I had fragments of a dark short story twirling around in my mind. Yes, it would approach the subject of suicide, and the crushed emotions of the survivors (people left behind). Yes, it would be based (loosely) on my own experience. And, I don’t know that there would be a positive spin to it or not (yet). This type of story isn’t usually what I’d write, but isn’t writing any story better than writing nothing? And, to me, I don’t think I’d be writing the story for publication, but that mindset might change later.

As the thoughts are there, I think I’ll let them formulate into something more solid and see what happens. I might end up with a horror story, or a story that raises suicide awareness, or just an emotional tangle of words. Who knows? But I should find out.

Leaving Successful Characters Dead or Alive

An interesting question was asked within my email writing group this morning – A Fantasy Writer’s Dream.

To start with, here’s a quote by J K Rowling, which she is reported to have said about her main character, Harry:

I have never been tempted to kill him off before the final book because I’ve always planned seven books, and I want to finish on seven books. I can completely understand, however, the mentality of an author who thinks, ‘Well, I’m gonna kill them off because that means there can be no non-author-written sequels. So it will end with me, and after I’m dead and gone they won’t be able to bring back the character.’

The question was something along the lines of, with the above quote in mind, how would you finish this series?

As I said, I think this is an interesting quote and question. I have never before thought about the consequences of leaving a successful main character alive at the end of a series. I know with certainty that I wouldn’t want another writer – no matter how good they were – to bring my character(s) back to life by writing a sequel, but does that mean we have to kill all the main characters off? We shouldn’t have to do that in order to end a series, permanently. And…what right does another author have to “adopt” someone else’s characters and write a sequel? It’s wrong!

If you were J K Rowling, would you kill Harry off in the final book? Or, would you risk leaving an opening for another writer, in years to come, to write a sequel? And…turning this question to your own writing…would you leave your main characters dead or alive?

What are your thoughts and feelings on this matter?