One of the most amazing parts about spending time with students far younger than you is their surprising ability to draw your attention to details you might not have noticed otherwise. This past year at Columbus Middle School, I was forced (on a seemingly weekly basis) to examine an important element of writing I had never thought much about before: character death.
One of the reasons that these kids’ stories drew so much attention to the subject was because of the seemingly arbitrary and indiscriminate nature of the deaths.
Story about a girl who dreams of becoming a superstar? BAM. Dad is killed.
Story about a new student in high school? BAM. Both parents dead.
Story about a zombie apocalypse? BAM. Millions eaten.
(Okay, maybe that last example doesn’t quite fit with the others…)