All My Friends Are Dead*

*(Calm down, it’s a book title)

I don’t normally post on Saturdays (and won’t unless something particularly good goes on) but I had to shamelessly steal and re-post this link that Janet Reid posted earlier:

All My Friends Are Dead.

It’s short, and safe-for-work-and-kids.  It’s also hilarious.

Riffing on the theme, however, it occurs to me that most writers of historical fiction – myself included – can probably say the same thing.  I spend several hours a day playing with people who’ve been dead for at least 300 years (in some cases, more like 1500).  I know them well.  I listen to their voices, and sometimes we argue.  (Particularly when one or more of them insists that “it” didn’t happen the way I want it to – and as any author can attest, the more vibrant your characters become, the more likely they are to stage mutinies at some point in the process.) In a sense, they become my friends.  Even the antagonists – who are, after all, heroes in their own minds.

Some of them are more dead than others, in fact, because they don’t all survive the novel.  Historical fiction is a rough place to be a redshirt, and even a good starting position among the supporting cast doesn’t always translate to an above ground finish.

In some sense, it’s probably accurate to expand on the title a little: All my friends are dead … and I killed most of them.  But – to quote a movie I’ll leave you to identify in the comments – they were all bad.

At least, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Have you killed off any (fictitious) friends lately?  Have you ever had to put down a character that you regretted knocking off, but had to do in anyway?