Tag Archive | death

Novels Versus Short Stories

I’m not interested in writing short stories. Anything that doesn’t take years of your life and drive you to suicide hardly seems worth doing.”

–Cormac McCarthy

He died.

When King Lear dies in Act V, do you know what Shakespeare has written? He’s written, “He dies.” That’s all; nothing more. No fanfare, no metaphor, no brilliant final words. The culmination of the most influential work of dramatic literature is, “He dies.” It takes Shakespeare, a genius, to come up with, “He dies.” And yet every time I read those two words, I find myself overwhelmed with dysphoria. And I know it’s only natural to be sad, but not because of the words “He dies.” but because of the life we saw prior to the words.

Mr. Edward Magorium from  Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium

He’s dead, Jim!

I don’t know about you, but I haven’t had anyone really close to me die. I’m only twenty-two, I only see my grandparents ever so often, and the only grandparent that has died died almost ten years ago, so I don’t remember a lot about him, let alone what it is like.

just happened to take a bunch of pictures of the dogs about three months before Rosy became paralyzed.

That being said, I’ve had dogs die on me. And many hamsters. Normally I didn’t notice them die, but then my dog, Rosy, died the Monday before Thanksgiving.

This has been really hard on me actually. I don’t know why. Maybe part of it had to do with the fact that myself and my sister care for her for almost two months, when she became paralyzed, before she died. We took her on walks every night, we got her outside when she had to go pee, we set up a wheelchair, we brought her to bed. My mom helped–oh you better believe she helped–but I was more involved with her than I had been in a long time.

Then one night she stopped eating, her heart started racing, and she couldn’t get up again. We put her down the next afternoon.

This made walks great!

The only picture I have of Rosy in her wheelchair.

The thing is that this has been very different than the last times our dogs have died. For example, we had some old jeans that we chopped the pants off of, and then used a pant leg to carry her outside. We had four of these running around. When she died, we cleaned out the living room where she had been sleeping some, but not well enough. That next Friday, when I cleaned the room for really the first time, I found a pant leg.

Then a week or so later, when I was cleaning out the dogs’ clothes basket. (They confiscated a clothes basket for sleeping in.) I found another pant leg.

Things went back to normal. We started noticing less dog hair in the vacuum cleaner. She was our only dog that shed. No dog; no hair.

Then we moved back a  couch and vacuumed underneath it. Tada! More Rosy hair. And this was last week.

We cleaned under the desk and we found her Elizabethan collar, aka, when she was Funnel Face. Which then reminds us of when she ran away and sliced her side on something and I found it after she came back inside and was laying on her living room floor. Or when she got her toe amputated. Or even when she got pressure ulcers and diaper rash at the very end. Those collars didn’t work too well for her though.

We clean the kitchen and we find her collar. Turns out my dad saved them all.

We clean the living room and find a soda bottle ripped apart. Used to give her a toy of a milk bone in a soda bottle. She was really good at getting them out.

Rosy and Hope would snuggle on occasion, although not that often.

Even when my dad bought a new dog, seeing Hope’s (another dog) reaction to the new dog reminded me of when we first brought Hope home. She was this scared little thing that sat in the front seat, shivering, and staring at the speakers the whole four hour long car ride  home. We figure this won’t go over well, and instead, she greets Rosy with happiness and joy. After that, Rosy is her guardian, her protector.  Wherever Rosy goes, Hope can go too.

The point I’m trying to make is that I knew the little things would remind me they would be gone. I knew the empty place behind the chair where she liked to sleep would be strange. Or not having to tell her to tell off the couch again. Or even taking the dogs on the walk and not taking her. But I never, in my wildest dreams, thought that things–phyiscal, actual things–would stay around to haunt long after she died. So I’ll have to remember this for my stories.

Good-bye, Rosy

Rosy destroying the vicious milkbone box.

So far we’ve just found a soda bottle, some pants, hair, a collar. But I don’t know what else we might find. And I don’t think that just because she died about a month and a half ago that we’re done finding things either, even if it happens to be a picture on a camera.

How to Kill the Prisoner.

So, perhaps this is a bit controversial, but I found out today how they put someone to death.

  1. First, they put them to sleep. I actually didn’t catch which drug they use, but it’s because by the time they start to die, it actually hurts a bit
  2. They give pancuronium bromide as a muscle relaxant. This actually paralyzes the diaphragm and is used for hunting monkeys in Africa.
  3. They give plain, boring potassium via an IV push. That means that they take the potassium and just shove it into the person as quickly as they possibly can.

The person will actually die from the heart not being able to handle the excessive potassium and throwing itself into a dysrhythmia. Then, the person dies and all is done.

six tips on the art killing characters

When I first began writing, I was fourteen, very naive, very young, and figured that the best way to get a stunning (as in the reader is stunned) ending was to kill off an unsuspecting character and shock the reader. My logic was that if the principle is true that, “People live, people die, life goes on,” that should apply to books as well.

Then, I grew up a little, became a little more knowledgeable about the art of killing characters, but just as naive to death. (I am very fortunate in that I haven’t had anyone close to be die.)

Fact: There is truly an art to killing off characters in a book. And here are five tips to help you along.

1. You can’t kill characters just because. Character’s death need to have a purpose in the story, or the reader feels cheated. It’s like the idea of when they decided not to kill Hans Solo in the last Star Wars episode.

On that same note….

2. When the reader looks back, the reader has to [pretty much] agree that the death was for the best. The reader will again, feel cheated and think that the death was a waste.

3. Have a logical death. Saying that a character dies suddenly, unless that is part of the reason for the death, will not go well with the reader.

4. Don’t resurrect  too many characters. If you’ve seen Alias, you might know what I mean. Killing off a bunch of characters, and then constantly having them pop up throughout the whole story  is just… boring. That also applies to ghosts. Ghosts are not good.

5. Don’t be afraid to do it. Maybe you’re not like me and you like your characters and you can’t imagine killing any of them off. But you keep thinking that by having Bob die, it would solve three of your problems that you are having. But you don’t want to be dark and gloomy and sad and depressing. But, it really would help.

Do it. Sometimes killing a character is the hardest thing that you will never have to do, and the best for your story. Chances are that most people won’t think you’re dark just because you kill one (or two) characters. (And to be honest, if you really are extremely dark, you won’t care about it being too dark.)

6. Listen to the characters: Sometimes the characters themselves tell you that they need to die. In my first real novel, I knew the leader of the rebellion did not make it to the end. Now, when I began writing I thought he died in one place and he ended up dying later on. But I still did let him die. So don’t try to save the characters when they tell you that they will die. It makes your life easier for starters.

Slight announcement: Due to Passover starting tonight, I will not be posting a post tomorrow. Posts will resume on Wednesday as normal.