How to Kill Your Characters

“Write what you know,” the old adage says of fiction writing. Uh, well. I have to kill people off in my books. It’s expected. I can’t exactly practice. Well, I could but it might dampen my ability to write and publish freely, although I might have more writing time between my stints in the prison laundry. Hmmm. Something to consider.

But for now we’ll assume practicing murder isn’t practical. Which is why God, in His infinite wisdom, made workshops.

Some highlights from “Body Disposal for Writers”:

* If you throw a body in a fire, all the evidence will not burn up unless it’s a massive industrial fire. It takes two hours at 1,800-2,400 degrees to thoroughly burn a human body, and even then there are large masses of skeletal bones. You really just don’t want to know what a crematorium does to get those fine ashes for you to scatter Aunt Mabel in the Pacific. And then there are all those troublesome teeth. Unless your victim is a vampire, in which case a little bit of sunrise will work.

* If you knock your victim out and leave the body in the car, then set the car on fire, you will not likely have a huge explosion. Most car materials are flame-retardant now, and would burn out before reaching the gas tank. Plus there’s the whole tooth and bone thing.

* If your vic drowns with his eyes open, they’ll still be open when he’s found. If his pupils were dilated, they’ll still be dilated. His expression will pretty much be the same (horrified, I imagine).

* Carbon monoxide poisoning will turn a caucasian’s skin bright pink, and some snake venom will cause the skin to change different colors. Neither will work on the undead, however.

* Your vampires are going to have to be SUPER STRONG if they’re going to rip out a beating heart with their bare hands. I’m just sayin.

* Best natural body-disposal methods are alligators, sharks and, yes, pigs. Babe will eat anything–and everything. Want no evidence left over except a nicely cleaned skull and pelvis? Babe’s your girl.

Enough for now. Any questions? Now, go have some dinner.

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About Suzanne Johnson

Author of urban and paranormal fantasy and romantic suspense, currently living in Auburn, Alabama. Author of the Sentinels of New Orleans series (Royal Street; River Road: Elysian Fields, Pirate's Alley, and Belle Chasse (Nov 2016). Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is the author of the Penton Legacy series (Redemption; Absolution; Omega; Storm Force; Allegiance); The Collectors series (Lovely, Dark, and Deep; Deadly, Calm, and Cold); and the upcoming Wilds of the Bayou series (Book 1, Wild Man's Curse) releases April 2016).

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