Attention all Writers: Please Save the Puppies

Save The Puppies

A few years ago, in order to quell the tedium of my 110-mile round-trip commute, I began listening to audio books. It quickly became an addiction. Though I write romance books, my supplier prefers murder mysteries, so that’s what I listened to. And hey, as expensive as audio books are, who am I to argue.

But then I listened to a book where the antagonist (bad guy) beat a poor, defenseless puppy to death. I stopped listening to the book immediately and got my own subscription to so I could listen to my own kind of books. Ones that do not involve the savage murder of innocent animals. I mean, seriously, who would want to listen to listen to such a book? More, what kind of person actually writes that kind of book?

And so I began listening to women’s fiction and romance novels, and listening to books on tape became safe again.

But recently, my friend and author Jansen Schmidt posted a blog entitled, Sometimes You Just Have to Kill ‘Em. In the post, Jansen talks about how upset her husband was when one of his favorite characters in a book he was reading was killed off. She argues that sometimes it’s necessary to kill off a character (for various reasons), and asks if any of us (writers) have ever killed off a character.

My reply? No, none of my characters have ever ticked me off enough.

And then Jansen, who is also my critique partner and has therefore read everything I’ve written, reminded me that I have indeed killed off a few characters.

Worse, she reminded me that, in my most recent work, I even killed a baby!

I gasped at the realization that she was right. But to be clear, I didn’t actually kill the baby; murder it in cold blood like the puppy-killing author. My character lost a near-term child. It is not the same thing. So not the same thing! Right?

What about you? Have you ever read something in a book that made you stop reading it?



3 comments on… “Attention all Writers: Please Save the Puppies”

  1. Melissa Lewicki

    I write mysteries. I spend much of my time trying to figure out new ways to kill people. I am currently going to a dermatologist for my psoriasis. He has me standing in my undies in a “light box” for two to three minutes at a time. Now, I want to know how high up you could crank that light box. Could someone die in there? It would be easy to lock the doors and shut the victim in there….
    I don’t kill puppies.

  2. I won’t read anything that involves killing innocent animals in anyway whatsoever. And in a brutal manner! No thanks! I write cozies and the murders are usually confined to victims who deserve it. Children and animals? I would put down the book immediately.

  3. Suzanne, I would never have guess that you are were a murderer. lol. And you were upset about the puppies? I can see that Patricia had no problem keeping you straight on the facts. What can I say? We all need someone to keep us on our toes. And no, at this point, I have not killed off a character in my stories yet. But apparently, you never know. I see a whole other side of you now Suzanne. Love it! 🙂

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