Discovery writing can be such a joy. I marvel at what my muse does, what she shows me and where she takes me. I enjoy nothing better than discovering my story as I go. But, I've learned there is a downside to writing this way.
March 17th, 2012, minutes before midnight, it happened. I didn't mean for it to happen. It just did. It wasn't my intention. From out of the blue it came. I stared at the monitor in shock, unable to accept that my fingers had typed the words. I was horrified at how chapter 32 was ending. I all but wept. I had killed a character.
This is not a trivial matter. Not to me. This character was pivotal. I liked him. A lot! It doesn't matter that his death was valiant and noble. It doesn't matter that my protagonist is where he is because of him. The deed is done. And now I'm mourning the loss. I was not prepared.
This was a wise character, a gentle soul. His voice was uniquely his own. I had plans for him. He had a revelation to share with the protagonist. Now that revelation will have to come from elsewhere. He enriched the tale. And he was a joy to write.
This wise character would tell me it was necessary and show me how and why things will be better because of it. He'd point out to me the numerous avenues where this tale can go now, the many plot lines that will develop as the result. He'd tell me these things and try to comfort me. I know he'd be right, but it doesn't change anything. Not really. I saw the impossible unfolding before my eyes and kept on writing.
I knew he wasn't destined to last until the end of the series. I've known for a very long time what his final words were supposed to be. He never said them. He never got the chance.
I'm rambling a bit. I realize that. But we do that sometimes when we lose someone we love. We try to make sense of it. Why him? Why now? Why did I keep going? I wanted to turn off the computer and forget to click Save. Never before have I loathed to click that toolbar button. Never until now.
The upside to Discovery Writing is that it gives you wonderful, unexpected gifts: unplanned scenes, beautiful dialog, enticing settings and even enthralling plot. The downside to Discovery Writing is that it can take away those very same gifts.
This was a sacrifice he was willing to make. It seems he was more willing to make it than I was.
Rest in peace, beloved. May your journey to Dreyhurst be swift.
You will be remembered. You will be missed.