HOW COULD YOU DO THAT?!?

Tony Lavoie

“HOW COULD YOU DO THAT?!?”

“Do what?”

“You killed her! You killed my favorite character! I loved her and you killed her! How could you do that to me?”

“I had to. THE STORY demanded it.”

“What do you mean, the story demanded it? You’re the author, for Pete’s sake! You could have killed off the other one. I like him too, but you killed off the character I loved most!”

“Not ‘the story’, ‘THE STORY’. In capitals. Yes, I could have killed off a different character, but that wouldn’t have been true to THE STORY. It would have broken it.”

“You’re cold. Cruel and cold.”

“I’m not cold.”

“You’re cold and heartless and you’re the author, for Pete’s sake! You’re writing the thing, so you can change anything you want!”

“I can’t. I have to write THE STORY as it happens. I’d be a liar otherwise.”

“I loved her and you killed her. How could you do that to me?”

“I didn’t do it to you. I wrote it that way because–“

“I know I know! Because THE STORY demanded it. I get it. You can’t change it because you’d break the story.”

“Please don’t mock me.”

“I’m not. I’m sorry. I’m just hurting. It hurt to read that. A lot. You have no idea how much.”

“I know how much it hurt.”

“How could you? How can you even write something like that unless you don’t feel it?”

“I do feel it. As much as it hurt you to read it, you only had to read it once. I had to write it. I had to live her death in my head over and over as I wrote it and re-wrote it and edited it and edited it again. When she died, I wept. I still shed tears every time I read the scene. Every time the orphanage is attacked, I weep for the children suddenly swept from their home. Every time my starfighter pilot blacks out and has those terrible, despairing visions, I feel her pain. Every time my pirate breaks his leg, I cry out silently. When Dumbledore falls, I fall. When the Galactica’s back snapped, I cringed. When Obi-Wan’s heart breaks over the loss of his brother Anakin, my heart breaks. I feel. Sometimes I think writers feel more than readers do, in general. Or maybe we just feel things more closely.”

“How can you write things like that and not break down? You described every bit of her death, her pain, and his pain at losing her. It took three pages! Didn’t that hurt to write?”

“Terribly. There were times I had to take a break from writing for a while because it hurt so much. It took a long time to write that one guy’s despair over his loss in the previous book, because I had to put my pen down every now and then so I could regroup.”

“Pen? You mean laptop.”

“Figuratively speaking. I’m a writer…I’m allowed to use metaphors.”

“I never saw you feeling down like that.”

“It passes quickly. I make a decision before going into a dark or troubling scene to stop when it becomes too dark or intense, and come back to it later. I make sure I have bright and happy things to come out to, like my kids, or some time on the lake, or a good film or something. All of that helps me cope with the darkness.”

“Darkness? Isn’t that a bit melodramatic?”

“A bit. I’m a writer, remember?”

“So why write stuff like that if it hurts so much?”

“Because THE STORY demands it. We are creatures of emotion. If I had written the scene without emotion, you wouldn’t have read it. Well, not with the same impact, anyway. It wouldn’t have meant as much to you, therefore it would have been a broken story.”

“Don’t you mean STORY?”

“Heh. No. Because at that point it would have ceased to be THE STORY and would have become merely a story.”

“I don’t know. I think it could have been written a little less painfully.”

“Finish reading it. Without bringing you to this low, the high that’s coming wouldn’t mean as much.”

“It gets better?”

“Read on. I think you won’t be disappointed. If THE STORY demanded this much pain and loss and despair, don’t you think it might also demand an equal or even greater measure of joy and laughter and light?”

“Really? There’s joy coming? I can’t imagine feeling joy after her death.”

“No, but THE STORY can. Give it a chance. Read the rest.”

“Okay, I’ll finish it. But you’d better not hurt me this much again in any other stories!”

“No promises. It all depends on what THE STORY demands.”

“So if you feel pain while you write pain, you must also feel joy when you write joy, then.”

“Yes, well, that’s the theory anyway.”

—-

Tony Lavoie is a sometime writer of fiction–at least, in his own mind, which, admittedly, isn’t always the most reliable of machines.  After all, he also sometimes steps out of his door at night and gets lost in the stars.

When his feet are planted on the Earth, he can occasionally be found at http://papergizmo.com. If he’s not there, just leave a message. He’ll get back to you as soon as the stars let him go. While you’re there, though, you should read his published stories.

Thanks for guest blogging, Tony!

Last, but not least, of our guest bloggers is up next in September: Linda Yezak. Stay tuned for her post, as well as another review in the next couple weeks.

Until next time,

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7 thoughts on “HOW COULD YOU DO THAT?!?

  1. Woah.

    Nice post, Tony. You really encapsulated the task and pain of a writer to be real to the drama unfolding.

    So true – life isn't always bright and shiny – often it's painful and messy because we live in a fallen world.

    Keep writing!

    Chris

    Like

  2. Thanks, Tony, for doing this!

    Chris, thanks for stopping in. Very true that life isn't always bright and shiny, and I think Tony did a great job at illustrating this from a writer's perspective. 🙂

    Like

  3. Very witty post. It reminds me of the hypocrit in all of us – I've 'written off' a few of my own characters (or subjected them to other forms of demise … ) all for THE STORY. But boy oh boy, it bugs me sometimes when that happens in a movie I'm watching or a book I'm reading!

    Like

  4. Nice, very nice work Tony. This is an example of “when the truth hurts”, but you're an excellent writer and that quick wit of yours helped to soften the blow. I am impatiently awaiting your next work.

    Like

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