What is Wrong with Me? I Haven’t Killed Anyone

My latest romance novel, The Letter, differs from my others. This time I didn’t kill any of the characters. Not one. Which is a first for me. Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not a sociopathic serial killer. At least not in the real world. But as a novel writer, I have to create conflict and drama in my stories to keep them interesting, and when it comes to creating drama, death is about as good as it gets.

Most of the time, the dearly departed is a notorious villain with whom karma has finally caught up with. Big time. In four of my novels a bad guy, or gal, got what was coming to them. The one exception was The Journey, where I had to kill a supporting character who I truly liked. So much so that I tried writing alternate scenes in which she didn’t die, but they just didn’t work as well. Killing this character off heightened the drama, which made the story more intense and a more interesting read. Nevertheless, having to write this character out made me feel genuinely sad.

There was one character in The Letter I thought of killing off. Like most of my “victims,” she was a despicable antagonist. However, unlike the others, this character also had a young child, and I simply couldn’t bring myself to create an orphan. So, this time, instead of an untimely if not painful death, it’s a terrifying near death experience. Surely you didn’t think I’d let a villain get away scot-free, did you?

Marina Martindale

To read a free preview of The Letter, please click here.



Entering The Clean Up Phase

Cleaning products.
© Can Stock Photo / JanPietruszka

I’ve been busy putting the final touches on the first draft for my upcoming contemporary romance novel, The Letter, and I’m now entering what I call, the cleanup phase.

Something has always bothered me with most of the so-called traditional contemporary romance novels that I’ve read. The author would reach the big climax scene, and then, once it was over, shazam! Everything would magically fall back into place right then and there. Then, one or two pages later, everyone rides off into the sunset. The end.

Wouldn’t it be great if real life was as simple?

I’ve always strived to make my stories as realistic and believable as possible, so after the big climax I include a cleanup phase. This gives my characters a chance to regroup and deal with the aftermath of the events that happened during the climax. It can be as short as an epilogue, or as long as several chapters. If a character is injured, you’ll see his or her recovery. If a villain gets caught, you’ll find out how long their prison sentence is. If someone leaves town, they’ll have a chance to say goodbye. The lead characters will work out whatever unresolved conflicts they may have. In other words, I’ll tie up of all the loose ends before I end my story. I don’t write sequels, so each ending has to be as complete, and as satisfying as possible for the reader.

Marina Martindale