Question Time 2012: Silly Kills?

Patti asks:

What way of offing a character did you dream up that turned out to be utterly impossible to execute (pun intended), and possibly more than a little silly?

In an early draft of one novel, I had a killer grab the nearest sharp object: a corkscrew. Now, personally, I would be scared if a mutant rogue supersoldier broke into my kitchen and tried to stab me with a three-inch long stainless steel spike. My editor, however, found the corkscrew to be an effete and wimpy weapon. She thought it conjured images of port and camembert, not of terror. So I revised the scene. I didn’t want my thriller to turn into an episode of Frasier.

And I was once “given” a way of offing a character so bizarre and awful, yet so intrinsically silly, that I have decided I can never use it. That is: to shove the character into a giant vat of the super-absorbent gel beads that go into disposable diapers. This method of killing was suggested by an acquaintance, who insisted she knew somebody who had tripped into such a vat at a diaper factory — and who had almost all the moisture sucked from his body before being rescued.

Pampered to death. That’s where I draw the line.

7 responses to “Question Time 2012: Silly Kills?

  1. I kinda want them to make that episode of Frasier now…

  2. “I say, Niles, did that brutish mutant rogue supersoldier just stab you in the neck with a *corkscrew*?!? Eddie! I say. *Eddie*! Where is that blasted dog when you actually need him . . .”

  3. “But she looked so radiant as she approached with the sherry bottle… Daphne, when did you go rogue? Cough… gak… Wait, come back, my mutant English rose… you forgot your corkscrew…”

  4. (Daphne hesitates at the door and turns around, head held high.) “I just couldn’t bloody stand you lot and your incessant *whinging*, so when Dr. Frankengardiner offered to turn me into a “coyote,” I bloody *leapt* at the chance. And I took care of that daft dog *before* I attended to your brother.” (Daphne exits; door slams; Niles gurgles.)

    Frasier (looking classically befuddled): “It’s just so difficult to find help that hasn’t been genetically tampered with by the military these days.”

    And . . . scene.

  5. The vat of gel beads might have been nice in Jericho Point for the rogue wedding band–kind of a cautionary tale to those considering matrimony. And in the other instance, was the corkscrew traded for a dental instrument?

    Thanks for the answer.

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