Now, I don’t mean to be morbid or depressing but really, death is very much a part of life. The cycle of life…we are born…we live..and then we shuffle off this mortal coil.
But, mercifully most of us don’t know when Mr G Reaper will come knocking. We hope it won’t be until we are too old or too sick to care and are ready to go with him. However….some unfortunate souls know only too well when they will be sent to the next world, and in the first story I had written for many years, my hero, Edward was one of these. He was about to be beheaded.
Poor Edward; based on a real historical figure, he was banged up in the Tower of London on a charge of treason, and spent his time dreaming of his home ‘Borley Hall‘ in Essex. His last wish was to come back as a ghost so he could walk there again, presumably ‘Sans Tete’.
The story was entitled ‘Twenty Three Steps To Borley‘, the steps of the title being the number of steps Edward counted from the Tower to the block. The final step, the twenty third was the moment the axe fell and his spirit was free.
Then, I had the ‘What If’ moment that many writers have. What if Edward’s valet had harboured a secret love for his master and, at the last minute so to speak, confessed his love to Edward. I wrote Ned & Will, A Love Story and published it on my blog in four parts. I had to change Edward’s last name to Wharton as the original name was Waldegrave (pronounced Wallgrave) and there are still members of that family living….what’s more, they are MPs. I didn’t want to offend or anger anyone with my scribblings.
So Edward and William consummate their love in a mean prison cell with a storm raging over London. (I do love my rough weather metaphors) and its all very sad and poignant but tender and loving. I adored writing it but with a little more experience under my belt, I can see its flaws. But I am very very fond of my two boys and didn’t want to let them go. So, I transposed Edward and Will into one of my WsIP ‘Defying Leviticus‘ which is also the name of this blog.
Now, I have another WIP which begins in a churchyard with the protagonist grieving over his lovers grave.
Hmmm! I’m not morbid, honest. But death can be so wonderfully, gruesomely exciting (in fiction) and, if it is bloody and sudden as in Edward’s case, it is full of high drama and tension; but the quiet death resulting from illness or old age is sad and touching.
And, as an author, you get to play God and choose how your character dies. Now that’s something to think about.