First a bit of news of the day:
Today at 6pm EST, 3pm PST, I’ll be giving an interview. Call in with your questions! I’m so nervous!
Now back to my post.
Progress on Sacred Heart is on hold for a few more weeks as I catch up on my day job. It’s taking quite a bit of willpower not to open a new Page doc and start a new chapter I’ve been mulling over.
The dangers to Juliette’s life drastically increase very early in. This one will be a lot darker, stormier, and…spoiler…not all of the good guys will survive. I made that decision early on. Something that irritated me about Twilight is that the only death among supernatural beings were either bad guys, and a peripheral good guy who we don’t really know enough about to care about. The Harry Potter books had characters we know and love die, and that slammed into us pretty hard.
When dealing with supernatural characters, suspension of disbelief will only last so long. At some point, things cease to feel natural. If you’ve got danger coming at the characters one after another, it makes more sense for someone to eventually die. Risks that never result in loss stop feeling like risks.
Death shouldn’t be gratuitous, as Irina’s death was in Twilight (in the original draft, Victoria narced on the Cullens, and she was killed instead, which actually made more sense). Even Sirius Black’s death in Order of the Phoenix felt forced to an extent. How did his death add to the story? I had to re-read that passage several times because I couldn’t understand why he died. Cedric’s death was proof that Voldemort was back. Cedric’s death caused the necessary pandemonium to propel the rest of that book forward. What did Sirius’s death add? A sense of loss for Harry? He already had that from his parents. He wasn’t left entirely alone in the world with the Weasleys as his surrogate parents. What did Sirius’s death add other than proof that someone could die without us seeing it coming? As much as I love Harry Potter (I was a fan back when no one knew who Harry Potter was, and bought my first-edition, first-printing right off the shelf), I don’t think this death should have happened.
It’s hard to say that some of the deaths at the end of the series should or shouldn’t have occurred. Heartbreaking as it was, losing one of the Weasley twins also made sense. In so large a battle, the more in a family fighting, the higher the chance of loss, especially when that family is seen as an enemy of pure-blooded people. Did Colin Creavy have to die? That was jarring for all the wrong reasons. Sneaking into the fight was out of character for him. The deaths of Lupin and Tonks were jarring because they hit the reader in the heart. As members of the Order, and first-line fighters, their deaths were reasonable.
I nearly killed Tristan in the Sacred Blood. Only at the eleventh hour did I decide to have him survive, and so had to rewrite the ending. I’m still not entirely sure I made the right decision in having him survive. Maybe I’ll write a short story summing up what would have happened afterward if he had died. His death would have added new challenges entirely for Juliette, and have prevented her from making a difficult decision. In the end, the decision she had to make was important enough that Tristan got to live.
Only one character was guaranteed to make it through Sacred Heart, and it’s not who you might think. I won’t give spoilers on a book that isn’t yet finished even in first draft. In fact, I’m toying with changing a death… Question is, could those who love these books get through the alternate death without throwing their reading devices or print books through a window?