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Know Jack #434 The Quick and the Dead

My last trip to Deadwood caused some unnecessary worries about my health. I’m known for killing off some of my readers’ favorite characters. So, when people I know ask me to name a character after them, they are quick to qualify the request with, “But don’t kill me”. I usually offer them a word of consolation by assuring them that just because you die in my stories doesn’t mean you’re out of the story. What’s good for the reader is good for the author.

I’m going back to Deadwood in June and plan on reading a new story called, What Dead Again? So, you guessed it, the unnamed author dies—again. Whether that’s the end of the story depends on how well his trick of disaster sells. Wit and humor can only carry me so far. Sales drive the train. However, I have a feeling Ed Landry isn’t going to let anything too terrible happen to me.

Death is easy in fiction. It’s planned, scripted, and nothing is really lost, not even the storyline. It’s not real. Writers are told to write what they know. When it comes to death, that can be difficult. It’s not easy to be open and honest about our own deaths and the aftermath. I think that’s because we tend to approach the reality of death like writers do the fictional version. There’s more story to it than reality.

The young are superheroes, death isn’t a possibility. It becomes a real fear when you have children, if not for yourself, then for them. When you reach your seventh decade, the Reaper moves into your neighborhood. When it comes to exactly how our story ends, we’re all pantsers writing by the seat of our pants trying to set the stage for a sequel.



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