Murder in the Third Act

By K. Ferrin


This week I killed six people. I’d been thinking about it for weeks. Who to kill, how to do it, how to hide the bodies so no one would know. I schemed, I plotted, I chose my weapon, then I made the blood flow.

It’s a little late in the game to make such dramatic changes in a manuscript. I was thirty-two chapters into this novel and had just started final approach toward that last climactic scene. I was only a couple of weeks away from finishing the book, but it just didn’t feel right. That magical flash you get when you know you’ve nailed a story wasn’t there. My characters were not cooperating. I suddenly had so much to do I didn’t have time to write. Rather than flowing like warm caramel the words were coming in violent thrusts that made me feel more like a rodeo cowboy than a writer.

When the story, the characters, and your muse start fighting you, you know you’ve got a problem.

After struggling through the incoming tsunami for weeks I finally admitted to myself I’d taken a wrong turn somewhere along the line and the story had to be redrafted. Letting go of a completion date that’s right around the corner was tough. Even tougher, the redrafting was bloodier than the Red Wedding, more violent than Sin City, and more terrifying than clowns under the bed. I’ve never seen so much blood in one place. The imaginative lives of so many oozing off my keyboard and pooling on the floor beneath my desk left me feeling faint. The poor dears… they never saw it coming.

Every act of creation is first an act of destruction Pablo Picasso said, and he was right. While the life of my last victim was still draining off the page the remaining characters surged back to life, jumping into action with such animus even I was shocked. My muse settled lightly onto the corner of my desk and began whispering into my ear, the caramel creaminess of her voice unspooling words as fast as I could type them. All that ‘stuff’ that had been keeping me so busy vanished faster than the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups from a mixed bag of Halloween candy.

As authors we have to trust ourselves, trust our link to the gypsy-voodoo-black-magic underbelly of the creative process, but perhaps most importantly, we have to trust our own intuition. If you begin to suspect you’ve chosen the wrong path in your story don’t be afraid to arm yourself and go all vampire slayer on your story. Whether you prefer stakes, swords, or guns for your bloodletting matters not, only that you let your story bleed. In the end it will be much stronger for it.


About K. Ferrin ~

During the daylight hours I live in a world filled with high technology – satellites, windowless buildings filled with humming machinery and robust HVAC systems, and networks spanning half the globe.  I also run a business consulting company (

When the working-day ends the world around me shifts from one filled with engineers and machines to one filled with magic, myth and adventure.  My heart lives here, along with this blog and my writing.  I write fantasy of all kinds, some epic and some urban or dark, some young adult and some for more mature readers.

You can find my young adult novel Magicless at all major online retailers, and the ebook on Amazon.

**I write for various audiences.  If you are looking for young adult ‘clean’ reads please look for the YA label on the spine and the back of the book.**

To find out more about  K. and her work, check out her website, K.Ferrin/Creator of Worlds

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