and let me tell you, it was one of the hardest scenes I’ve ever written. However, thanks to three re-writes and coaching from my super duper beta reader, I have written a scene that grips me and my reader to the point of tears, which is what I was going for.
So what held me up on this scene? Basically, I forgot to be the storyteller. I failed to get inside my characters’ heads. The basics were there, the movements were there but it lacked depth, persuasion. It lacked emotion. I mean, it was so close, but you know how sometimes you’re thinking of something and it’s right there on the tip of your tongue but you just can’t blurt it out? That’s how this scene was with me. It was right there. Right on the brink, but I kept missing the mark.
Until I listened to my beta reader, made myself uncomfortable and visited the spot where grief lives. I had to reach down deep inside of me and relive what I felt when people I loved died. What did I feel? What did I say to myself? What sort of bargains did I make? And then I had to transpose them onto a seventeen year old boy without sounding cheesy or overdone.
I can’t believe how many hours this scene took to perfect. Again, a big tip of the hat to my beta reader and her harsh, strong comments that forced me to dig up painful memories so I could make this scene shine.
I wonder if anyone else has written a death scene and if they had as much trouble to get it right? If so, what did you pull from for inspiration?
As a side note: there are three novels that come to mind with great, gut-wrenching death scenes that just turned me into a bawling baby: The Order of the Phoenix when Sirius Black dies, The Hunger Games when Rue dies and an old classic, The Miracle of the Bells when Olga Treskovna dies.
What are some of your favorite death scenes in fiction and what emotion(s) did they stir in you?