I just finished a difficult scene in my book that involved the death of a child. It left me feeling heartbroken and a little sick, but with an odd sense of satisfaction. I think the satisfaction is due to finishing it in a way that I feel does honor to the little fictional boy’s spirit. No matter that this is the only scene he’s in, and at that briefly. I didn’t want it to be a cheap thing thrown in for shock value, I don’t do that, not even to fictional little boys.
I thought up this scene months ago but didn’t actually write it till now. I wasn’t even sure it was going to be a boy or a girl. I think perhaps I finally chose a little boy due to the tragedy that has unfolded right here in my town. The short of it is (as we know it right now, the autopsy isn’t back yet) some idiot mom and her boyfriend accidentally killed her 3 yr old son with either drugs or meth cooking. They then tried to hide the body and ended up throwing it into the woods and setting it on fire. Happily, they didn’t get away with it. Sadly this sweet little boy is no longer among us.
When I was still playing with dolls I killed off my first character (yes my dolls were characters, with back story and props). I cried for days, had a funeral for her, and even though I reused the doll, all the props that were “her” were never used again. I couldn’t even tell my mom why I was so sad…. She just wouldn’t have understood.
Have you ever written something emotionally hard? What motivated you to do it? Are you happy with how it turned out? Did your readers react the way you hoped they would? Or did you get slack from it?
Did you cry? (Physically or just on the inside?)