Thursday, February 17, 2011

How Do I Kill a Nice Guy?

So, I’ve got this really great character. He helps old ladies cross busy streets, stops traffic to save confused puppies, and he has even been seen giving change to a street person.

I’m thinking about killing a book, of course. My story features Mr. Nice-guy as he goes through life looking after others, but I worry that such a story might be boring, so I am wondering about killing him off, you know, to add a dramatic plot twist.

Problem is, what's the best way to kill off a nice-guy? There’s always the discovery of a metastatic cancer in end stages giving him two months to live. This presents a problem...I’ve still got to write around this nice guy for another two months of story time.

How bout something more dramatic? Maybe a car crash, yeah, like hit by a drunk driver. Naw...too cliché. But, what if he was hit by a woman who couldn’t see through her tears because she just discovered her husband is bonking her best friend? Oh Lord, no! That’s too much like the romance genre that I hate.

The story follows the relationships of an old groundskeeper in an orphanage for children that are deemed not-adoptable. These kids have handicaps or behavioral problems and my nice-guy character becomes their confidant. Children find him easy to talk to and he helps them deal with life issues. For example, while he’s trimming a hedge, one small boy laments the way he is teased at school about congenital face distortions. The old man just listens while snipping at the bushes, letting the boy vent anger and hurt. When the child stops talking, the old man pulls a Tootsie-pop from his pocket and hands it to the boy. Surprised, the youngster asks, “Why did you give me this?” The old gardener says, “Because they make me smile. I hope it will give you a moment of happiness too. Try it.”

The child unwraps the sucker and smiles at the first taste of sweet chocolate flavor. When the boy looks up at the old man, the gardener explains, “As you go through life, you will always have choices. You can let mean people hurt you, or you can ignore them and take pleasure in things that make you that Tootsie-pop. It made you smile.”

Now that I think about it, maybe he’s not too boring. To live, to die...such is the trial of being a writer.

1 comment:

  1. Yep, "nice guys" can be equally or, in some cases, even more interesting than the bad guys.


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