Apologies for Murder
Monday, June 9, 2008

Okay, now I feel incredibly guilty! Burton Wyatt (Old Habits - Part IX) was meant to be a character with a single purpose, to make Mal so angry, the kind of anger he displayed in Serenity, after Book was killed. The kind when he spoke to Inara and said that, if he went to war, he guaranteed she’d see something new. Mal has to have that anger for the rest of this story (and the BIG story) to unfold the way it does.

Then I wrote Wyatt, and he managed to take on a life of his own. Maybe because he was so easy to write, and because Kaylee and River and all the others liked the Road Runner and her crew, we did too. They trusted him, so we did. We don’t even see the others - Yuki and Terry and Brogan and the rest. We don’t need to. They had a life before this tale, because Serenity’s family knew it. Yuki cooks noodle stew, Brogan is a medic, Terry is like Jayne - because we can see it through their eyes.

And I killed them off. All of them. One fell swoop, one burst of light and Road Runner is no more.

In a way, I’m proud of the reactions I’ve got from my readers. It’s what I was aiming at. You had to like Wyatt, so that what came next was a shock. Mal and Zoe et al are shocked, and you have to be too. I did my job. But I still feel guilty about it. I liked Wyatt. If I’d known how I was going to feel, maybe I would have made him less of a person, but then that’s the point. He might only be words on a screen, but in a single chapter (which had to be virtually entirely getting to know Wyatt, as there wasn’t going to be a second chance) I brought him to life.

Is this how Joss Whedon felt when he wrote Wash, knowing that he was going to kill him off at some point? Maybe, maybe not. All I know is, I feel closer to that man than I have ever done before.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008 5:06 AM


You've got to feel the angst to make those characters come alive and you did a superb job. I think the danger comes when, like Mal, you lose so many people you love, you don't want to risk loving anyone else because you can't afford to be hurt that deeply again. And Wyatt's loss was deep! So, if you're going to create another awesome character like Wyatt, please don't kill them.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008 4:11 AM


Is it not satrange how close we get to out OC and then when we kill them, it's like...OMG!! They are truly gone, meant only for life now in flasbacks and memories. I for one thought you did a marvelous job on how you ended it. Just remember that I have both been there, have done that, and might just be doing it again.... :))hint hint...


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