If you’ve read my novels, you will have noticed I like to incorporate murder into all of them. Indeed, killing a character—whether a protagonist or an antagonist—is a form of psychotherapy for me. It is subconsciously cathartic. In fact, each “killing” probably equals six months of psychotherapy. Not that there’s anything wrong with therapists. I’ve been to a few myself. They are invaluable to society and helped me through tough times.
Some may think that the fact I like to write about murder means I’m an angry, violent person. I am not; I’m quite the opposite. In real life, I enjoy meditating, growing my own vegetables and photographing wildlife. Still, each time I kill a character in one of my novels, that death symbolically heals a part of my past. Some may understand that while others may think I’ve lost it. Truth is, I don’t even know how it works, but it does.
Writing is Therapeutic
The character that has been killed off doesn’t necessarily represent an actual person in my past who wronged me, but more so a composite of several people I’ve known in my life. In fact, the catharsis is not merely derived by the act of “committing” the murder, but by the whole process of writing itself.
While some of my novels have lots of murders, others may have only a few. And no matter how many murders are committed, they need to be accurately conveyed, which means I need to do proper research. Which brings me to the original point of this blog: researching manners of death on the Internet.
Browsing History of a Writer
If anyone checked the browsing history on my computer, they may think a serial killer regularly used it, not a person who goes out of her way to save spiders by scooping them up and placing them outside. Indeed, my most recent browsing history would raise a red flag to any pseudo detective, reflecting my obsession with bio-warfare.
As mentioned in my last blog, I am currently writing a tome about a deadly virus sweeping the country (and the world), though its delivery is quite different from the COVID-19 pandemic we all experienced. Tentatively titled Plague, my new novel is heavy on death with both innocent victims and wicked international characters weaved throughout. Though inspired by current events, the plot is a figment of my imagination. Still, I needed to clearly understand the real effects of bacteria and viruses to write about them.
I may have had the Coronavirus months before there was even a test for it as I was sicker than I’d ever been in my life. A month after I recovered, the whole country (and planet) shut down and I was tasked with finding ways to overcome both the conscious and subconscious anxiety it wreaked upon me. Hiking was great during daylight hours, but I needed a nighttime diversion. What better way to tackle my anxious feelings than to start writing about deadly viruses that could kill off characters with a little help from the evil doers? I even killed characters I had originally planned on keeping, but then immediately created new ones to take their place.
For me, writing is more than cathartic; it brings closure and redemption. And often, even with all the murders, my novels offer happier endings than in real life. What I love the most about writing is I never know where my subconscious mind will take me or how it works. But it is always an adventure!