I'm not sure exactly why, but people frequently tell me they wouldn't want to run into me in a dark alley, and they'd never want to piss me off. This may have something to do with the fact that I'm a second degree black belt, and I tend to be rather... intense about my karate.
Or it may have something to do with the fact that I have no compunction whatsoever about killing... my favorite characters, that is.
I've said it before, I am not a fan of happy endings. For one thing, I'm a horror nut, and nothing ruins a good horror story like a happy ending. The monster is supposed to win. The hero is supposed to die. The reader is supposed to be left cowering under the bed covers, wondering if he's next. I want to shock and awe people with stories that make them afraid to turn the page while simultaneously making it impossible to resist doing so. But to do that, I have to write a story that truly puts the characters at risk for bodily harm and even death. I have to give the reader serious doubt as to whether anyone will survive the story.
Why the urge to do this? Why would I want to write about horrible things happening to perfectly nice (and sometimes not-so-nice) people? Am I crazy? Mentally twisted? Psychotic? Well yeah, I'm a stay-at-home mother of two! But really, that doesn't explaim why I write about the dark side of things. What is my fascination with death?
I'm not sure if I can satisfactoraly can't answer that question. I've spent the past week wracking my brain, trying to think of something smart, or at least smart-ass, to say about it. All I can tell you is that in the past six years, I've tortured, mutilated, burned, beatened, stabbed, drowned and otherwise destroyed perfectly good characters. And I've not limited my killings to just horror stories. I can turn a sweet romance into a funeral dirge at the drop of a hat. Just ask Lisabet, she knows what I'm talking about.
The fact is, I just think it makes for better stories. At least it makes my stories better. The doubt and unpredictability of what might happen; will this character live or die tragically? As a writer, it makes me care more about the characters when I know they might not always be around. Think about it. If you knew that someday someone you loved was going to die, wouldn't you go the extra mile to be with that person, to enjoy them and appreciate them while there's still time? The threat of death is what makes life so precious, and the threat of fictional death, though not as dire, can also make readers care deeply about characters in a story.
I remember the first time I truly fell in love with a character in a story. I was reading "Little Women" by Louisa Mae Alcott. One of the sisters, Beth, had been ill for a long time, and nothing could save her. I cried my eyes out when she died. I still cry when I think about that story. Her life was so short and so tragic. She had no happy ending beyond the fact that she was with her family when she finally went. And yet, of all the thousands of characters I've read about in all the thousands of books I've read, Beth is one of the few who stays with me to this day, bringing on the fresh tears whenever I think about her.
Is there room in the world of erotica for that kind of sadness? Is this a genre that will allow tragic endings and the deaths of beloved characters? I say yes. Erotica isn't just about happy endings and steamy sex scenes. I believe it's about how sex and its related issues affect people's lives. Sometimes those effects can be damaging, or even deadly, and the stories there could potentially haunt readers for ages. That's a side of erotica I want to explore, and I for one am quite willing to kill my darlings to go there.