This week, we are writing about our favorite type of scenes to write and why. As I thought about this, I realized there is a common theme in all my books. Someone always dies. And sometimes not in a nice way.
This is why I write fiction. I hear about something in the news, or something that happened to someone’s friend, and my imagination takes over. I try to put myself in their shoes, imagining how I would feel, what I would do if this happened to me or someone close to me. And then my imagination gets away from me. Suddenly I am writing a whole scene around this tragic event and the story unfolds from there.
For example, in Book 2 (tentatively titled Red Thread of Fate), the book opens with the main character, Tam, on the phone with her husband when he is killed. Where did I get the idea for this? From my fireman husband. He was once on duty when they answered a first responder call for an accident. A truck had run over a woman who was on the phone with her husband at the time. I just couldn’t imagine what that poor husband was thinking and feeling at the time. And before I knew it, I was sitting down and writing my own version, imagining how my main character would feel if this happened to her.
And in my debut, The Tiger Mom’s Tale, out July 6, 2021, the story revolves around the MC, Lexa, finding out her estranged father and his best friend in Taiwan have died. How they died and what happens are explored, as Lexa has to process her feelings and deal with the aftermath of their deaths.
I’m not sure why I have this morbid fascination with what happens when people die. Maybe it’s a way for me to sort out my own feelings about death and losing people I love. To know that we are not alone in this and that people everywhere face these feelings of grief, whatever their story. It might also be a way for me to face the reality of death, a way for me to channel those feelings. I write about them in my books, hoping it will make someone else feel not as alone, if they are dealing with the grief of losing a loved one.
Whatever the reason, it has become on “brand” for my books that someone always dies. I realized I actually excel at writing these scenes (not sure that’s something to be proud of or put on my resume – Lyn excels at killing people in her books). But I hope in writing about this, it will resonate with readers, and help people in the way books have always helped me, no matter what I am dealing with at the time.
Lyn Liao Butler
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