Without death, or the prospect of death, how can one truly embrace life?
Now I’m not saying you need to rush out and become a skydiver, or base-jumper, or free climber. Not by any stretch of the imagination. But think about it. If you were immortal, and the idea of death simply didn’t apply to you, after countless years of existence, how important would the world surrounding you appear? Would you still embrace each day as though it were brand new and a blessing to be explored? Or would you begin to wish for what was no longer within your grasp?
Death is life. They are two sides of the same coin.
Just like in life, you must have death in your novels. Your characters need to experience the pain of losing someone, or something, to the great unknown in order to move forward in their growth. That doesn’t mean you need to coat the pages in blood… or have someone die within the pages of your manuscript. But some loss, somewhere, brings a depth and humanity to your characters which carries them off the page and into the hearts of your audience. Because death is something we all can connect with on some emotional level. Either through our own experience, or through the experience of someone close to us, death has hovered at some point near our elbows; looking over our shoulders at how we’ve chosen to live.
Existing is easy. Grabbing life with both hands and following our dreams until death comes? That’s hard.