You could win an exclusive writing masterclass with Ian Rankin with the Scotsman & National Library of Scotland short story competition. Well, if you live in Scotland and can get your hands on a newspaper, anyway.
Wondering what David Simon has in mind to follow The Wire? Apparently, he plans to take on the Big Easy.
I miss Baltimore already.
Okay, this blog post really isn’t about David Simon and The Wire, but yesterday I noticed a friend and regular reader of this blog mentioned elsewhere they didn’t know who David Simon was, which made me realize I have obviously neglected fulfilling my regular quota for expressing my enthusiasm for Simon’s work.
But I can actually sum it up in short order in a way that this person can appreciate. David Simon is Laura Lippman’s husband.
I know this person knows who Laura Lippman is.
Okay, okay, The Wire does have something to do with my albeit scattered thoughts of the day. You see, I recently finished Frailty, and despite my angst over the book my first reader has assured me it’s brilliant. However, in bringing book 2 of a series to a close, my mind has already turned to the next project…
And I’m asking myself the question, Is it ever safe to kill off a protagonist? I’ve asked this in a bit of a looser format over at Crimespace but then, I also expect writers to be a bit more forgiving on the issue. After all, it’s our imaginary world and we’ve set ourselves up as God, so shouldn’t we be able to make the life and death decisions?
I have absolute admiration for a series like The Wire, where season after season, popular character after popular character has bit the dust. Season 1, episode 12… I can’t believe George Pelecanos* did that to Wallace. It’s probably the most disturbing scene of that whole season. And yet, completely fitting.
I’d like to believe that if it was truly fitting for a character to die that I would be brave enough to kill them off, and defend that choice. I have definitely killed off peripheral characters, close to protagonists. There was one in SC I really didn’t want to kill, but it was the right thing to do.
The problem for me is that I become attached to the protagonists, likeable or loatheable, and begin to feel their pain. I don’t even like putting them through the ringer. I don’t get some perverse satisfaction from tormenting my main characters. (Okay, there are a few peripheral characters I’m happy beating on from time to time, but not my protagonists.)
I suppose the reason I’m having such conflict over this is that one of my upcoming projects includes a story where the/a protagonist must die. Toward the end of Frailty I found myself procrastinating, not wanting to deal with the next scene because every scene was bringing me closer to something I didn’t want to do.
Am I the only one who finds it hard? Do I have some abnormal bond with my characters that’s making it difficult, or does everyone go through that? You know, as a reader I’m usually forgiving. As long as I feel it fits the tone of the work, I’ll accept the author’s choice.
But as a writer I find some of those big decisions tough to make.
* And if I had interviewed George Pelecanos for the upcoming Spinetingler Issue, I would have had a chat with him about that. As it is, we hope to have the new issue up in a few weeks, and there is an interview with George…