Today, it is my great pleasure to welcome Christopher Husberg, who has kindly written a blog post entitled Tv’s 100 and the Inexorability of Death.” Christopher’s latest book, Duskfall is out NOW and is published by Titan Books. Be sure to check it out further down.
‘TV’s 100 and the Inexorability of Death’ by Christopher Husberg
One of my favorite programs on television right now is The 100, about a group of teenagers in a dying space station a hundred
years after a nuclear apocalypse who are then sent down to a scorched earth to discover whether it’s become survivable or not. And that’s just the premise; over three seasons, the program continues to develop and morph into even cooler iterations of itself. But the biggest draw to the show for me has been its brutality—The 100 is not afraid to kill central characters and put its main characters through pretty miserable things, and while I don’t agree with all of the decisions made in the TV show, that willingness has become something I value in stories I read, watch, and write.
When I wrote the first draft of my novel Duskfall, I wanted to demonstrate that same willingness to let people die. I’ve been a long-time fan of Joss Whedon and George R.R. Martin, both of whom are known for unexpectedly killing off central characters, and I wanted my readers to have that same sense of uncertainty, of “anything could happen.”
So I went for the shock value, because that was the most accessible aspect of the death scenes that I’d found so meaningful. But when I got preliminary feedback on the early drafts of Duskfall, the readers where overwhelmingly dissatisfied with the character deaths in the book—and not in an “I was shocked and horrified but secretly thought it was awesome” kind of way. It’s one thing to vex a reader because a character they love dies; it’s quite another for them to wonder why a character’s death matters at all.
I eventually realized I was facing a few problems with these scenes: the deaths were either too sudden or too telegraphed, sometimes both, and they rarely had lasting consequences. One of the characters I killed off in early drafts literally only existed to be killed off! So I started reworking those scenes, analyzing the deaths I found effective in film, TV, and literature, and brainstorming how I could really make that happen in my novel, and not just go for the shock value. It seems obvious to me now, but I had to learn that characters couldn’t just exist to be killed; they had to have their own motivations, quirks, foibles, and desires.
I completely removed the character who’d only existed to die in the books, and instead assigned his death—which was an important plot point—to a more important character, a character I actually had plans for in later books. That was difficult to do, and I had to let go of my future plans for that character, but I think it was the right choice. In order for death to mean something, it had to end something—as it inevitably, tragically does in real life.
Release Date: 21st June 2016
Published by: Titan Books
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Stuck with arrows and close to death, a man is pulled from the icy waters of the Gulf of Nahl. Winter, a seemingly quiet young fisherman’s daughter, harbours a secret addiction that threatens to destroy her. A young priestess, Cinzia, must face a long journey home to protect her church from rebellion. A rebellion sparked by her sister.
Three characters on different paths will be brought together by fate on one thrilling and perilous adventure. .
Christopher Husberg grew up in Eagle River, Alaska, where he did not live in an igloo, so don’t bother asking about it. He enjoyed hiking and camping in the Last Frontier, but only during the three and a half months when there wasn’t snow on the ground. The rest of the year provided ample opportunities to play Warcraft, Starcraft, and Final Fantasy, and read stories by J.R.R. Tolkien, Brian Jacques, Roald Dahl, Susan Cooper, and T.A. Barron. In high school he transitioned to authors like Robert Jordan and George R.R. Martin, where he fell in love with Westeros, like, a whole decade before it was cool.
Chris first dreamed of being a writer in elementary school when he tried his hand at Redwall fan fiction. He failed miserably, and might have given up right there if his parents hadn’t fed him an assemblage of vaguely Seussian lines about places he might go, butter battles he might fight, and virescent cuisine he might consume (but mainly that first thing about going places). But his Final Fantasy fan fiction in middle school wasn’t much better, and when he tried writing his own novel in high school he decided it was way too hard and played a lot of video games and pretended to snowboard instead, though his obsession with writing continued festering in the recesses of his mind.
In 2003 Chris enrolled at Brigham Young University as an English major, but soon took two years off to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Southern Italy. Upon returning to BYU, Chris suffered a brief stint of ballroom dancing before his writing obsession re-emerged and he began writing in earnest. He finished his first novel, Duskfall, while taking a year off and teaching ballroom dance at a local studio.
In 2010 Chris was accepted into BYU’s MFA Creative Writing program, taking fiction, non-fiction, YA lit, and theory classes, focussing mostly on short fiction writing. He somehow managed to convince the English Department to let him teach some composition and creative writing courses as part of the program, and took every opportunity to terrorize college freshman and beginning writers with pleasure.
While Chris learned about the art of writing from his MFA, he learned about the business and the craft by taking classes from Brandon Sanderson, author of the Mistborn series and the Stormlight Archive. With Brandon’s help, Chris realized that he could do what he loved and maybe even make a living at it if he put in the proverbial blood, sweat, and tears. Living that dream is working out well for him so far.
Chris currently lives in Provo, Utah, where he spends his time writing, reading, writing, hiking, writing, playing video games, and hanging out with his wife, Rachel, and daughter, Buffy. When the writing gets tough, he considers resorting to another master’s degree, or heaven forbid a PhD, at whatever university will let him concentrate on gender and pop-culture studies in the television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer…but then he remembers how much he loves what he does, and writes some more. (Taken from Chris’s Website)