I have a confession to make, an apology to give. Tom, I’m sorry, but I really didn’t know what happened to you until last week. I left you dangling, and that was unfair. I hope you’ll forgive me as I think you’ll be happy with how I took care of your storyline. Well, as happy as you can be considering you are a fictional character and dead.
Allow me to begin at the beginning. As I drafted my novella, Reality Re-Do, I knew a few things about Tom – he was my main character’s husband, a great guy, a proud father, a successful travel writer and deceased. As the story took shape, with the main character, Beth coping with her widowhood by losing herself in reality television I came up with the idea that Tom had died while the couple was on a cruise to Greece for work. I let, “Lost at Sea,” and, “Tragic Disappearance,” account for his demise. I planned to elaborate further in later installments of Beth’s story. I told my editor I was saving the details for when Beth was ready to tell the new love of her life and it wouldn’t be in Reality Re-Do.
Somehow it didn’t bother me that I didn’t know what those details would be, it worked for me and I felt like it would come to me someday. Someday finally arrived last Thursday. On Wednesday I submitted my manuscript for the second novella, and still hadn’t answered how Tom had died, but it still felt okay with me. In the post-submission high I began to pen (literally, my first drafts are always longhand) the final novella that would feature Beth and her new boyfriend, Scott revealing their pasts to each other. I now had to come up with the story of the night Tom died, I had no choice.
On a beautiful sunny afternoon in my backyard I finally killed Tom. It came to me clearly and quickly, my handwriting is barely legible. I did not see this scenario coming; I’m as surprised as I hope the readers will be too. Maybe my character flaw will turn out to be just a minor imperfection this time.