Thursday, November 29, 2012

Death Revisited - Writing a Death Scene

I wrote a scene where somebody I care about dies.


It's the first writing I've done on this particular project for a while, but I've written this scene where this character dies... I think three times now? Hence I say: Again.

Each time it kind of rips my guts out. A little more and a little more as I get it closer and closer to what it needs to be.

Anyway. I'm an emotional rather than a cerebral writer - heart over brain. So I was wandering around, looking for inspiration, and I found this clip on YouTube that reminded me of possibly the saddest movie death in movie history.

I've only ever seen the edited version of the Matrix, but I don't think I missed much. I was still totally devastated when Trinity died.

That's beside the point.

Along with it I found this music track. Also sad. Also just right for the scene I was working on.

It got me thinking about death. I know, I've talked about death scenes before, but when I talked about them before, I only really thought of it as a scene. I was more cerebral about it than emotional. Detached, as it were.

It occurred to me that the way that a character greets their death tells you a lot about who they are. What are they focused on in their last moments? Are they afraid to step into the unknown? Are they sad, or regretful, or resigned, or panicky? Are there things left undone in their lives? What kind of impact does it have on the people around them?

And of course, it made me think about real people, because I can't think about fictional people without thinking of real people, because book characters are the shadows of ourselves.

It made me wonder, a little, how I will greet my own death. I hope I greet it well. Not that I'm planning on dying anytime soon. Just... it happens to everyone, y'know? Sooner or later, we all die, and sometimes it's a surprise and sometimes it's not.

I think the best option is not to fear death. To live life in a way so that when we finally come face to face with our mortality, we can step across that threshold without reservations, without fear, without dishonor, leaving behind the things we would like to leave behind: memories and good relationships and lifted burdens wherever we went.

Aaaaaand... now it's time for me to go to bed.


Got any good movie clips/soundtracks that help you write?

1 comment:

  1. This is a very thought-provoking post. I haven't had any characters die in my novel. But I am inspired by a good character death.

    I like to listen to the kind of music I think my characters would be listening to, this sort of gets me in their heads and helps we work them out of situations.