On flinching

I’ve been thinking lately (no doubt by way of procrastinating on TE) about what I would do for a sequel to Bones, should I get to write one, and as I tossed possibilities around I had a discussion with lnhammer that went something like this:

lnh: “Are you flinching?”*

me: “I just don’t want to hurt anyone else. I hurt too many people the last book.”

lnh: “Wait–a moment ago you were talking about wiping out a whole town, and now you’re worried about hurting one character?”

me: “Yes, but that would have been a whole new town. I don’t care about anyone there yet. But here now I’m thinking about hurting characters I know.”

At which point lnhammer, in his wisdom, simply gave me a long look.

Because of course, fictionally killing a town of people you don’t know is nothing beside hurting one character you care about–that hopefully the reader will care about.

The easiest thing I did, in writing Bones, was to wipe most of the planet out in a catastrophic magical war. Apocalyptic horrors are easy. It’s the small personal horrors–a baby set out on a hillside, a mother abandoning her daughter, a single plant attacking a single named character–that are hard.

*lnhammer also told me to stop flinching when I wanted to save W.

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