Killing your characters

Sarah Hoyt has a good piece on killing characters in fiction.  Go read it:

http://accordingtohoyt.com/2012/01/25/professional-killing/

No.  Seriously.  Go read it.

I haven’t done a lot of killing of characters in my published fiction.

I’ve killed, oh, I think three people in my published fiction (well, four if you count . . . but that was a Heroes in Hell story and he was already dead so I don’t know if that counts. ;) )
The first one was in the opening scene of a story and was basically intended to set the stakes for the plot: If they don’t solve the problem people die. The other two were in “Time for Tears” (Sword & Sorceress XXVI–available now from Amazon and other fine booksellers ;) ). In that one the deaths were the climax of the story, were heavily foreshadowed and, frankly the story may have gotten a little maudlin (but the check cleared so I can’t complain too much). ;) 

Free sample

Janet and Chris Morris write the “Framing stories,” the lead and trailing stories, for the Heroes in Hell series.  These provide the setup for each volumes theme and overall story arc.  For Lawyers in Hell the lead story is “Interview with the Devil”.  The Morris’s have made it available as an individual ebook on Amazon.  Now available for free for a limited time.

Go and check it out!

Dealing with bad reviews

I’ve had a couple over the years.  Not many because, frankly, I’m not big enough to come to the attention of most reviewers.  Still, the question sometimes arises “what do I do when I get a bad review.”  The usual advice is to ignore it or even be grateful for a review (a number of writer friends of mine report getting about the same bump in sales from a bad review as they get for a good one).

Still, sometimes that’s not enough and one feels the need to do something more.

Isaac Asimov had a method of dealing with bad reviews.

  • Write a clever, witty, rebuttal to the review that discusses the reviewers lack of intelligence and breeding in the most scathing of terms.
  • Read over your rebuttal.  Chortle over the best bits.
  • Share the rebuttal with your significant other.  Laugh together over how thoroughly you skewered the reviewer.
  • Print it on 100% rag paper.  Fold it neatly into thirds.
  • Put the rebuttal into a #10 business envelope.  Address it to the reviewer.  Put a stamp on it.
  • Tear it up and throw it away because you’ve gotten all the benefit you’re ever going to get out of it.

I heartily endorse this method.