I'm taking a couple of days' break from NaNoWriMo while I wait for my new wrist brace to arrive in tomorrow's mail. Apparently the last few days of writing 3000 words a day have set off a reaction in my carpal tunnel -- or maybe it's just a warning from the ever-lurking old-age-related arthritis. Whatever the case, I'm trying to limit my keyboard use. So why am I writing a blog? Guess I'm an IT addict.
I thought I'd use this break to remind you of one of my favorite websites.The picture above is the official trademark of The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature. If you like it, you can order it printed on all sorts of objects (tee shirts, coffee mugs, even men's boxers!)
Here's their motto:
"No good Southern fiction is complete without a dead mule."
--Val MacEwan, 1996
The website has been active since 1996, but the idea can be traced back as far as 1930 and the two dead mules in William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying.
I discovered their site back when i was writing The Road to Frogmore. I immediately found a spot where I could add the required scene: a disgruntled Confederate veteran shooting an ex-slave's mules and leaving them to die in the middle of the road.
And just as quickly one of my readers responded with fury. She wrote that she was opposed to all animal cruelty, and if I killed an animal in my book, she would never read my writing again. Undeterred, I left the scene stand. Maybe she never bought another book. I don't know.
But I remembered this issue when a similar question arose over at the NaNoWriMo Camp about killing off one's characters. And yes, I was the one who sparked it by killing off one of my characters. Then I noticed something interesting about the reactions. I'll talk about them in detail tomorrow. But in the meantime, how do you feel about books in which main characters die? i'd really like to know. Send private comments here.