Killing people is easy, at least for writers. (Now all you weirdoes who came here to see how to really kill people can leave.) Now, the hardest thing to do is to sell the idea. I’ve never killed a person. I don’t really know all the feelings involved. I’m sure most writers don’t so we have to sell the idea that we have, or at least sell the idea that are character can kill someone.
I like to view seeing a story in my head as staring through windows. I open one and sit with my elbows on the sill, a laptop and sometimes a glass of water and stare at the contents. Many times I feel like I have no involvement in it – I’m just a scribe. The story exist as it does and it’s my job to get an accurate description of what happens. Stephen King also describes this in a similar manner in On Writing but as fossils. I like windows.
So there I am, with my laptop – sometimes with my iPad or iPhone – peering out a window watching someone die. That’s a pretty normal day for me. I’ve never killed anyone; but I think of other people doing it all the time, hence all the windows. So this window is one that floats above a grassy, sunny space away from any form of life besides these two people. One is on his knees and the other is holding him down, from the throat. Have I ever seen this event? Not in real life, just in movies, images in my mind and the internet. So let’s continue this as a story, or a window.
The sky is bright, probably too bright for such a scene; but it’s too late now, Jerry had already begun what he thought he would never do. I shuffle and write that in my laptop. Click. Clickty. Click. I know the other man’s name, Leroy. Why? I don’t know, that’s just his name and it will always be his name, even though I’m watching him die. His eyes, bulge, his face reddens first, and then it fades. It fades like a man slowly turning into a ghost, white and it’s sickening. Something in my stomach churns; but I watch and I type. I like watching.
Jerry’s face. It’s different, it’s not full of anger, it’s full of satisfaction. There’s no smile, just that look, a stoic pleasurable form of satisfaction. And Leroy dies, his face blue, his eyes like swollen white berries. Leroy dies. Click. Clickty. Klack. Klack. Klack.
So how do you kill someone? With what you see. Ignore everything else. Did those things really happen the way I describe? Who knows? That’s the way I see it and that’s all that really matters. After all, are they buying the truth, or a story. Are they reading because what happens in the book is “possible”. No. If you want possible things watch the news. I’m here to show what I see in the windows.
I’ve read reviews where people say, “I don’t believe that’s possible,” or “Come one why would it happen on a sunny, happy grassy knoll.” The truth is I don’t know, it just did and I’m portraying that as best I can (I’m no professional, just another self-pub writer but a happy self-pub writer). Have I ever seen a person’s face turn all those crazy things. Nah. For all I know it doesn’t even happen that way.
Research is important, just for the fact that there’s a lot of douches and trolls ready to pick something apart if you don’t research. They expect our omniscient to be almost godlike. We writers know that isn’t possible, but we try. Try. For gods sake, try. Then with that research, you’ll feel confident. That’s what sells death – confidence. If you truly believe what you see is really happening, people will to.
As a writer, I like to think I’m lenient on a lot of things, I even over look spelling and send the author corrections. Yeah, I’m hardcore. But please do some homework, don’t change names and leave me confused. And not re-reading your story isn’t killing anyone but your readers. When I’m staring out my window watching poeple die, I tend to write too fast and misspell, miswrite, or just plain miss something important. So edit. Edit, edit, edit and then get someone else to edit. Please. Then kill some more people.
Check out Part 2: How To Kill People The Right Way