Good evening. I have a lot to say tonight, so let’s get right to it.
Yesterday I reached the climax of my story for NaNoWriMo, and I finished it today. It got dangerous, and it lead to an all day struggle on my part.
In the story, Saul, Xandria, Jill, Tanya, and Sam (the True Automaton) make an escape from the German encampment they’re being held in outside of Berlin. But as they make a break for it, they’re caught, and an exciting gun fight and chase ensues. Sam is able to make quick work of the enemy with his own guns. However, in the process, they’re stopped by Jim Kleverland who shoots Xandria in the back, almost killing her. Then in anger, he shoots Jill in the belly. Before he can kill Saul, Sam kills Kleverland. But here’s the issue: Xandria and Jill are both shot and dying, there’s only time to save one of them because they’re on the run and need to get away. That’s when I knew for sure that a main character was going to die, and it was killing me inside.
I have no issue killing off a character, but when it comes down to who lives and who dies, it’s hard to choose. Jill is just a kid, and Saul knows that Xandria would want him to choose to save Jill. But Xandria is the love of Saul’s life, and after all the other crap he had been through, he was already battling depression. If Xan dies, it might push him over the edge, almost too far.
So my battle began. Who to kill? I was asking for advice from friends, and even my critique buddy (yeah, I’ve got one of those). It was difficult! If Xandria died, Saul would be lost, and the ending would be tragic, but without hope. I don’t think I could have spun it any other way, not with Saul. And if Jill died, the ending would be so sad. I feel like her death would be pointless and make no real difference, not to mention the guilt all my other main characters would feel. Plus, she’s my favorite character in this story, so that added to this dilemma.
The story needed blood. I felt like it needed a sacrifice to work, but I couldn’t decide who would live and who would die. All day at work, I was thinking it over, trying to decide what I should do, who I should kill.
Then I came up with a compromise, a way so that the novel would get it’s blood, the two woman could live, and the ending could still be satisfying, and somewhat happy. I decided that instead of killing Xandria (which is where I was leaning), I would paralyze her instead. This would mean that the climax still had consequences, the main characters would be changed by this event, but she’d still be alive, and Saul would be able to help her though her tough time, like she helped him, leading to a satisfying conclusion. So, that became the plan.
Tonight I wrote it, and I liked it! I can always go back and write the darker ending if I feel like it’s necessary and use that one instead, but so far, I’m liking my compromise. As of right now, both the author and the story are satisfied. We’ll see where this leads as I draw closer to the conclusion.
Current word count for True Automaton: 65,581/50,000!
Until we meet again,
Andrew Ronzino, Master of this Story Universe