by Mark Hamner
William Faulkner famously said, “In writing, you must kill all your darlings.” He was, of course, talking about having the guts to eliminate superfluous prose, chapters, etc. from your work. However, as I was completing my third book, Cinder’s Reach, I had the task of killing one of my darlings in a very different way. As a caution, I should note that everything from this point on should be considered a spoiler for those who are considering reading The Echo Chronicles.
My Echo Chronicles series revolves around four central characters: Trin, the protagonist, Cipher, his best friend, Creed, the hothead, and Dalton, the nice guy. As I progressed through the books in the series, it became clear, both in my own mind and from my conversations with others, that one of my characters had become the clear favorite. To my surprise, that character wasn’t Trin; it was Cipher. Something about the fact that she never stopped trying to help others despite the fact that she was, herself, fairly messed up, really drew people to her. Trin was leaning on her more and more, and she was constantly putting her own life on the line for him and the rest of her friends. The world inhabited by my characters is extremely volatile and dangerous. Early on the thought struck me that it wouldn’t be entirely realistic for my characters to continue getting into dire situation after dire situation only to come out relatively unscathed. Continue reading “Killing Your Darlings: The Death of a Central Character”