Friday, June 15, 2012

16 ways to kill Callie's husband

In one of the big sections of the novel I'm working on, I need to kill the character's husband. I wrote an ending where she comes home to discover the kitchen awash in blood but no body and she hires a clean-up crew so she can disappear. And while it was a great chapter with a lot of writing I liked, it was too murder mystery for the context of the novel, too dramatic, too gory.

So last Friday I set about writing a list of 16 solutions to his death. And I thought I'd share them with you.

1. Hit by a bus (accident)
2. Hit by a car (not an accident)
3. Just disappears without a trace
4. Disappears but leaves a note of farewell but with no clues as to whereabouts
5. He decides to leave the country and she won't go with him.
6. She decides to leave him (divorce).
7. He commits suicide in some way.
8. He has a heart attack and dies at the office.
9. She agrees to kill him under threat from the wise guys who control them.
10. She shoots him accidentally (they fight over a gun and it goes off).
11. He gets arrested and killed in jail.
12. He's murdered and there's blood but no body (the original idea).
13. She poisons him (drug overdose).
14. He falls, hits his head on the tub, and drowns. (accident)
15. He disappears and she gets a phone call about it from the wise guys.
16. His body is found in the woods.

After I did this, I could see that I had criteria (or rather the story did) for what would work: The solution needed to be complete: the relationship over. Callie could not be implicated (I didn't want her talking to the police or visiting him in prison). I need her to move on. It had to be believable in the context and not too dramatic. And it needed to have an emotional component for her.

I'm working now with a combination of 7 and 14--an overdose that looks like suicide but with a whiff of wise-guy involvement so I can use the clean-up crew. I think it's going to work out fine.