Tracey’s Gift-Giving Guide: Part 5 – Last-Minute Ideas

There’s only a week left until Christmas people! And yet I know that some of you barely have any shopping done…some of you even have NO shopping done. For shame.

For you people, here are a few last-minute, minimal-effort ideas.

Gift Cards

Personally, I’m not a fan of gift cards at Christmas. I can’t help but feel like there should be a note on them that says, “I don’t know you well enough to have any idea what you might like, so here’s some pre-spent money, and please do the leg work for me”. No offense to those who like to give gift cards…that’s just how I feel about them.

That said, there are certain types of gift cards that I feel are acceptable. Two of them are shown above. If you know a Tim Horton’s coffee lover, a Tim Card is an excellent choice because it’s money that you know they’re going to spend anyway. Alternatively, a Playstation Network card (or a Microsoft Points card for the XBox lovers) for the gamer in your life is a wonderful choice because it allows them to “load” their account with funds without having to attach a credit card number to their account. (For those of you who don’t get the whole gaming thing, your recipient can use the funds to download games or virtual goods for their games.)

Depending on what your gift recipient likes there are other good choices for gift cards, but I beg you to avoid certain stores…giving a gift card to a department store says, “I had literally thousands of choices around me, but still didn’t know what to get you”, and please, please avoid those Dollarama gift cards…even if your recipient regularly shops at the local Dollar Store, giving them a gift card for one screams “I think you’re cheap!”

A Themed Christmas Decoration

There are literally thousands upon thousands of themed and licensed Christmas decorations out there these days. They’ve always been available at stores like Hallmark and Carlton Cards, but they’re also prevalent at the department stores and supermarkets now, so you can’t possibly try to say that you can’t find any. For a few bucks you can get your loved one something cute and/or personalized that they can use to decorate their house for years to come.

Does your loved one love the old Rankin-Bass Christmas specials? There are tons of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer decorations out there. Do you have a kid on your list who is obsessed with a particular cartoon? I can almost guarantee you that you’ll find a couple of tree ornaments dedicated to that particular show. My daughter has her own miniature Christmas tree and it is covered in Ponies, Ninja Turtles, Spongebob, Sesame Street characters, and Disney Princesses. Take half a glance in the decoration section of any store and you’re bound to find something, I promise.

A Throw Blanket

Hear me out. If you live in a tropical climate, feel free to ignore this one, but if you live anywhere where, at some time throughout the year, the temperature drops below freezing, this is a great gift. There’s nothing quite like snuggling up on the couch to watch TV/read a book/play a video game/screw around on the computer with a soft, snuggly blanket wrapped around your shoulders. For a cost of between $10 and $30, depending on where and what you buy, you can share this joy. I’ve both given and received these wonderful little squares of material, and they’ve always been appreciated. In fact, I have one wrapped around me as I’m typing this post. Trust me on this one. Lovely, easy gift.

—–

With this last gift-giving guide post, I would like to say one last thing… Pay attention to your loved ones. The reason we all tend to have so much trouble (and stress) shopping during Christmas is because we can never think of what to buy, and the main reason that we can’t think of what to buy is because we simply don’t pay attention to one another. I’m not trying to give the impression that I’m exempt from that statement…I’m as bad as anyone. But the worst offenders, I’ve found, tend to be the parents of young children. Working in retail has shown me that a lot of parents pay so little attention to their children’s likes and dislikes that it actually frightens me, so here’s a hint: if you think that every video game is a “Mario” game, or you can’t name even one of the characters of the TV show that your child loves…you need to start opening your eyes and your ears and stop relying on sales associates to help you figure out what to get your kid for Christmas.

Do you have any gift ideas that you’d care to share with the panicked, stressed-out last-minute shoppers? Leave a comment! We’d all love to hear your ideas!

This concludes Tracey’s Gift-Giving Guide. I hope I’ve helped a few people come up with some ideas for great gifts for their loved ones, but now that we’re down to one week left I plan to not even think about any more shopping. 🙂

Happy last minute shopping, everyone!

From Crazy Clever to Sorrowful Sobbing in One Short Step

Kids are funny little creatures because of the way their minds work. They’re constantly learning, absorbing information, and figuring out the process of cause and effect, and they can use all this knowledge they’re perpetually gaining to be extraordinarily clever. Yet at the same time they can be easily confused, scared of the unknown, and tricked by illusion, which can make them seem ridiculously, humorously foolish.

And sometimes those two extremes can come together to make priceless, memorable moments.

My daughter has learned how to take a "selfie" with my iPhone...and does so wearing a bike helmet. See what I'm getting at?
My daughter has learned how to take a “selfie” with my iPhone…I’m not sure what category of cleverness/insanity this falls into, so you be the judge. 😛

A few nights ago my daughter was being a little bit of trouble at bedtime. She went to bed fine enough, snuggling her stuffed Rainbow Dash toy, but about a half an hour later I heard banging on her door. She had decided that she wanted her four Sesame Street plushies instead of Rainbow Dash, and she needed me to tuck her back in properly. I obliged, and returned to what I was doing, only to hear banging on her door again about twenty minutes later. She had decided that instead of all four Sesame Street plushies she just wanted her Abby Caddaby, and again, she wanted me to tuck her back in properly. This time I obliged, but I also warned her very sternly, “I don’t want to hear any more banging on that door tonight”. I asked her if she understood and she said yes. I asked her if she promised not to bang on the door anymore and she said yes. She gave me a kiss and said good night and I went on my way.

The key words in this part of the story are “don’t want to hear any more banging on that door”.

Another twenty or so minutes later my husband asked me if I heard the little Missy yelling. I listened, and sure enough I heard her calling my name. By the time I got up to her room she’d called it a further ten or fifteen times. When I opened the door she was standing there, grinning at me, decidedly not banging on the door. I’d been outwitted by a toddler.

I couldn’t be mad, because come on…that’s pretty clever. So I took her to the bathroom (which is what she’d wanted, so I guess it’s good that she decided to be clever) and returned her to her room, where she decided that she no longer wanted Abby; she wanted her miniature Big Bird and Grover toys. I tucked her all in and went back on my way. I wasn’t downstairs for five minutes when hubby and I heard her cry out again, except this time she wasn’t just calling for mommy; it sounded like she was sobbing. I went sprinting up the stairs and found her sitting up in her bed, positively bawling her eyes out. For a moment I thought that perhaps she hadn’t done all of her business in the bathroom and was crying because she’d had an accident, but when I asked her what was wrong she just started sobbing, “Grover! Grover!” A moment later I realized that her little Grover had somehow gotten tangled up in the blankets and she thought she’d lost him. I “rescued” the poor thing and got her all snuggled in again, taking care not to get the blankets too close to Grover this time.

And so I was struck by the humorous workings of a child’s mind. In less than ten minutes she’d both completely outwitted her mother over a wording discrepancy, and totally lost her mind because her toy accidentally left her line of sight.

Aren’t kids just the funniest things sometimes?

Accountability Tuesdays – Week 27

So here we are, on the first week of the second half of the year. It’s time for another accountability post, and I’ve got a confession to make.

That confession is: I have almost nothing to report.

I have done almost no writing, absolutely no editing, I’ve been eating terrible amounts of junky food, and the only exercise I’ve gotten is chasing the baby around. In fact, I’ve really got pretty much nothing of note to report.

Do you want to know why?

Because I’m home. I’m home for a while, with no threat of leaving again any time in the near future, and I’m enjoying it.

I know I can’t slack off forever, but I’ve been having a blast just being mommy and wife. You want to know what I’ve done this past week?

I arrived home on Wednesday and spent the rest of that day just rolling around with my daughter, enjoying the way she turns into a little barnacle when I come home.

On Friday my husband and I packed the baby into our car and we went shopping. We bought presents for my father and his mother (birthdays coming up), grabbed a stuffed Big Bird and Zoe for the baby (which she became extremely attached to), bought some games and fun stuff for ourselves, and picked up a couple of things that we can put away for the baby’s birthday or Christmas.

The next morning, on Saturday, we drove down home for the niece’s birthday party, where we ate barbecue, Ninja Turtle cupcakes, and ice cream cake while the kids had an absolute blast in the pool.

Sunday we took the baby to the parade for the Festival of the Strait (where she received a ton of candy), then I took her to the recreation grounds where she absolutely lost her mind in a giant Disney Princess bouncy castle with a huge slide inside, and in the evening we took her to the free concert after which she “ooh”ed and “ahh”ed and giggled like a maniac at the fireworks.

And yesterday we recovered by staying inside and relaxing.

Doesn’t that all sound awesome? Because it totally was. And during none of it did I worry about writing, editing, eating well, or exercising. Perhaps I should have…but I didn’t. So you’ll excuse me (I hope) when I tell you that I wrote a grand total of 1010 words in the past week, did not so much as glance at any editing, and probably gained a pound or two worth of ice cream cake.

Sorry, I was busy enjoying LIFE!

girlsswimming
Pictured: Life Being Enjoyed

With that said, I do know that I’ve got to get down to business at some point (even if I have a ton of other things coming up…wedding…visits…more festivals…), and with that in mind I have a few things to mention.

First of all, I’ve gone on a bit of a learning kick. I know that my zombie apocalypse story isn’t the “next great American novel”, and I know that I myself still have a ton to learn about being a good writer, so I’m taking it upon myself to start actually doing the research. I’ve purchased three books to start myself off with:
Kristen Lamb’s Rise of the Machines
Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way
Stephen King’s On Writing

From Kristen I hope to learn how to build a viable author platform (which, a year ago, I didn’t even know was a thing). From Julia I hope to learn some tricks and exercises to make myself a better, more efficient writer. From Stephen…well, I just hope to learn something because I love his writing and in case you haven’t notice, he’s been a wee bit successful.

I’m halfway through Kristen’s book right now, and already learning a lot, so if anyone has any suggestions for some other craft books I might want to read after these three, please feel free to let me know!

The second thing I want to mention is a bit of a vanity thing…upon publishing yesterday’s post I noticed that today would mark my 300th post on this blog. It may not be one of those super-satisfying numbers like 1000, but this is a big deal to me. A few months ago I surpassed a year of doing this blog, and now I can officially say that I’ve written several hundred posts. How awesome is that? Maybe I have a little bit of persistence in me after all!

fireworks

And with that, I bid you adieu for the day. I have a lot of things to do, the least of which is definitely not jumping on my daughter’s bed and helping her cuddle all her Sesame Street characters. Ta!

Things I Know About Kids – Learning

First, I feel I should point out that I have done no real research on the topic of learning capabilities in small children, nor have I read any research done by others. What I know I’ve learned from my own daughter, and to a lesser extent my niece and the children we see at playgroup.

With that aside, what I know is that we as a society have a bad habit of underestimating small children. We follow guidelines that tell us what skills our kids should know and by when, we buy age-specific toys based on assessments made by the companies who designed them, and we get upset if our kids haven’t learned a specific skill by a specific time, even if they’ve become quite advanced in a different skill in the meantime.

In other words, we group all children together, expecting them to learn and grow at the same rate, and limiting them by focusing on only the skills we’re told they should have by now. I personally think this is very silly because, while you shouldn’t push your children to “learn learn learn learn learn!!!” you should always encourage them to go further and further.

I’ll give you an example. My daughter has a wooden alphabet puzzle. The back of the puzzle board states that the puzzle is for ages 3 and up. At the time we purchased the puzzle I thought that “ages 3 and up” couldn’t possibly refer to any kind of safety issue because the puzzle pieces are quite large, and a quick examination showed that there is no way the pegs could possibly become disconnected. When the safety check was all clear we gave our daughter the puzzle to play with…at the time she was just under a year old. Yes, we gave our one year old a toy that someone, somewhere, decided was meant for three year olds and up. We weren’t pushing the learning toy on her, and we certainly didn’t expect giving it to her to make her a genius or anything; we just figured it was a good, educational toy that she’d enjoy playing with. But here’s the thing…she caught on pretty fast. It only took her a few weeks to be able to locate where the pieces went, and by the time she was just under a year and a half old we had her telling us what all the letters were as she was doing the puzzle. It didn’t take long after that for her to understand that letters naturally went in a particular order, and if I wrote down letters she’d tell me which ones came next.

There were other factors that contributed to her success, of course… For one thing we took the time to sit with her and tell her what all the letters were. For another she also regularly watched a Sesame Street special that teaches kids the alphabet. But the point of the story is that if we had set the puzzle aside, assuming that she wouldn’t be able to understand it until she was at least three years old, she might not have caught on to the alphabet so soon. If we took it upon ourselves to assume that the Sesame Street special was too advanced for her, she wouldn’t be THIS close to being able to sing the whole alphabet song at less than two and a half years old (imagine me holding my fingers a few millimeters apart).

Again, I’m not saying my kid is a genius, but I can absolutely say with certainty that she has advanced faster than expected because we don’t hold back teaching her new things just because she’s still young. We make sure her toys are safe, and if we buy her something meant for older kids (Ninja Turtles action figures and My Little Pony sets come to mind) we make sure to remove any small pieces she might decide to swallow for fun. Once those two things have been accomplished, we let her play with what she’s interested in, and we encourage her to learn new things. In fact, she and her soon-to-be-four-year-old cousin can work my Samsung Galaxy Tab2 better than some adults I know.

Kids are sponges, they really are. We regularly take this into consideration when taking care not to transfer bad habits, but we rarely think about it when considering teaching and learning practices. Encourage your kid to learn, and (as long as safety permits) let them decide what toys and programs are appropriate for their age group. They’ll thank you for it later.

Effort Begets Effort

A reminder: This post courtesy of Julie Jarnagin’s 101 Blog Post Ideas for Writers.

78. Tips for fostering a love of books in our children

Personally, I believe that this is easier than it sounds, and that the long and short of it is…read to your kids. It’s as easy as that.

See, I believe there’s a bit of a plague happening in the modern world, and that is an unwillingness of parents to spend a reasonable amount of time and effort actually teaching their kids things. I’m not saying I’m a super-mom or anything, but I’ve noticed that whenever parents complain that their kids are behind on something (not walking yet, not talking yet, doesn’t feed themselves, etc) there seems to be a distinct lack of the parents actually attempting to teach the child. For instance, a couple I met was complaining that their three-year-old didn’t seem to be talking enough. What I noticed, as they were complaining and talking about taking the kid to speech therapists, was that they barely every seemed to actually talk to the kid themselves. Now let me ask you this: how do you expect a kid to learn how to talk if you don’t show him how to?

It’s no different when teaching kids to read and enjoy books…they’re only going to catch on to it if you put forth the time and effort to show them what’s so great about it. Take my daughter, for instance. She can’t read of course – she’s only recently 2 – but we started showing her letters and teaching her what they are when she was only about a year old. We were patient with her and showed them to her whenever we could, and applauded her whenever she learned something. The result is that now, at 2 years old, she knows all her letters and the order they go in, and she’s almost able to sing the alphabet song. Now when she looks through books she’ll point out letters and be so proud of herself, and when one of us reads something to her sometimes she’ll point at the words and mumble along…she understands the concept even if she doesn’t have the skills to actually read it yet, and the fact that she’s learning makes her happy and excited.

That’s the key, I think, to fostering a love of reading in children. Teach them, because (particularly when they’re young) they want to learn, make it fun, and show them how proud you are when they accomplish something. If you put in the effort, they’ll put in the effort, and the more they do, the more they’ll enjoy it.

(Also, for the record, Sesame Street is still the best educational program around, bar none. Ernie is totally the main reason my daughter can already count to 13.)

Failure? No, not even close.

The best laid plans do not always turn out the way you expect them to. This is a well-known fact, often tested, the results reproduced with alarming regularity. As per this noble tradition of screw-up-ery, November did not turn out the way I expected it to. This is not surprising. What is surprising is the manner in which it did not turn out the way I expected it to.

I went into November with a simple goal: to participate in my 5th National Novel Writing Month. Though I was definitely going to put my all into it, I did not expect to win my 5th NaNoWriMo, due to the working conditions I’ve mentioned more than once on this blog. What I expected was to spend two weeks working out West, writing whenever I could snag a few minutes to keep my word count from plummeting miserably, and then when I returned home for the last bit of November I would write like a maniac to get as close to a winning word count as possible.

In a humorous twist, what I did was almost exactly the opposite. During my days out West I wrote like the wind. I wrote in a notebook during all my breaks, and typed like a madwoman when I got back to my camp room at night. I even scribbled out a few words here and there on buses and in lines for buses, and once or twice I lost an hour or two much-needed sleep because the scenes were just flowing out of me. I made the daily word count every day while I was out West, and even doubled it on some days.

And then I returned home, and I am completely unashamed to admit that I did not write one single word from the moment my plane landed until this blog post. What did I do during those two weeks off? Well, for one, I finished (yes, finished) all my Christmas shopping, cleaned and decorated the house with the help of my husband, decorated the tree with my husband and daughter, and wrapped every single present that was available to wrap (including embellishment with a plethora of ribbons and bows, thank you very much). But even more important than that, I (with a great deal of help from my mother) threw my daughter her second birthday party. She had a blast with her cousin and second-cousins, enjoyed her Sesame Street decorations and cake, and got some pretty awesome gifts in the process. Then we packed everything up and headed home so I could just enjoy being with her for a couple of days before flying back out for work.

The conclusion of this little tale, in case you hadn’t figured it out yet, is that while I’m disappointed that I couldn’t score a 5th NaNoWriMo win after all that frantic writing out West, sometimes there are more important things. And because I was able to accept that, I manged to put myself into a situation where I will have virtually nothing to worry about for Christmas when I get back home in two weeks, and I was able to enjoy my daughter’s second birthday without obsessing over a self-imposed writing challenge. Take that.

And just to make a good situation even better, even though I didn’t win NaNo, I wrote 37189 words of good stuff when I was writing. I’m happy with that, and I fully plan on continuing on with this story while I’m out West for this run. In fact, I picked up a cute little notebook on the way out here specifically for that purpose. I’m going to reinstate my goal from earlier in the year and try to write 1000 words a day. If nothing else it will help pass the time until I can go back home to my husband and my little girl and enjoy Christmas with them. Love you two! See you in two weeks! *kiss kiss; hug hug!*

Oh no…NaNo!

And so it starts. NaNoWriMo 2012.

I didn’t stay up and start writing at precisely midnight last night, as so many do, but the first thing I did this morning (after giving the baby her breakfast and setting her up with some Sesame Street vids) was to run to my laptop and start plucking away. I’ve only got 351 words so far today, as I’ve got about a million other things to worry about as well, but it’s a start. The daily target is 1667 words, but if I get 1000 today I’ll be happy. So many other things to do! o.o

You may also notice that I’ve changed my sidebar image to one more suitable for the situation I now find myself in. This avatar more accurately represents how I’m going to look for the next month. If I could go to work in my pajamas and curl into a corner with a mug of tea and my laptop, I definitely would.

Since this is a special month, and since I didn’t find the time to write any 101 blog post ideas entries over these days off, I’m going to have a different kind of update schedule over the next few weeks. Each week I’ll put up a couple of posts relating to my NaNo-novel. Some posts will be bits of the planning process, like the synopsis I posted yesterday. Other posts will be excerpts of what I’ve managed to write so far. Others will be my strangled cries for help/sleep as I drudge through the month. Stay tuned! @_@

Cause and Effect

A reminder: This post courtesy of Julie Jarnagin’s 101 Blog Post Ideas for Writers.

56. How writing affects other areas of your life

Writing is something that I’ve always loved doing. Ever since I was in grade school I knew that I wanted to be a writer, even though at the time I didn’t really understand what that would entail. I chose to eventually study in the trades because I was looking for something with a reasonably foreseeable future and some level of financial stability. There was no way of knowing whether I’d ever be able to actually make a living off my writing, so I kept it as a hobby, and only in recent years did I start to contemplate the idea that I could still be a writer even with my chosen lifestyle. So I work, I spend time with my family, I deal with the same household nuisances and annoying errands that every adult deals with…and then I write.

Keeping writing in my life in this way definitely causes issues. If I want to write while I’m out West I have a very limited time frame to do it in, which makes my evenings rushed, and sometimes stressful as a result. Sometimes I even lose sleep as a result, which in turn affects the following day in a number of not-so-fun ways. Trying to write while on my days off requires me to juggle between baby, husband, chores, and the rest of the real world. Sometimes it will take me all day to write a blog post that would have taken me twenty minutes to write out West because every time I sit at the computer my daughter comes and grabs my hand and drags me over to where she’s playing or watching Sesame Street. I’ll go with her because she is absolutely more important, but it can get frustrating to pluck out a post one sentence at a time whenever I think she’s not paying attention for a few seconds.

I guess when I look at it, it seems less that my writing affects other aspects of my life and more that my life affects aspects of my writing. Writing is very important to me, more now that it ever has been in my life, but I simply can’t put it above certain other aspects of my life…I will never refuse to play with my daughter in order to finish a blog post faster, for instance. I know that there are lots of writers out there who dedicate themselves to it fully, sacrificing sleep, social lives, and family interaction, but that’s not for me. I love writing, and I will always treasure writing, but it is not the most important thing in my life, not by a long shot.

Just the Necessities

A reminder: This post courtesy of Julie Jarnagin’s 101 Blog Post Ideas for Writers.

31. I can’t sit down to write unless…

…I’m awake.

Okay, okay, I’m sorry; that was a little smartassish of me. But it’s more or less the truth. I don’t need any particular equipment, situation, reason, or emotional state in order to sit down and write. I just need to have some thoughts in my head worth writing.

BUT, there are a number of things that make writing easier and more enjoyable for me, so I’ll just go ahead and tell you about those:

– Obviously I need something to write on, and if necessary I can use pretty much any form of media, but if at all possible I prefer to use my laptop. I love writing by hand, but I find that it takes too long and a lot of times I’ll have lost the thought process I was relying on by the time I get around to actually physically writing the words down. I’m a pretty fast typist, so the same issue doesn’t apply when I’m on my laptop. Alternatively, using my iPhone or tablet doesn’t yield the same effect because I’m a traditional typist and holy hell is it hard to type with any kind of speed on a touch-screen.

– Silence is not necessary, as I’ve been known to write from the couch while my husband is killing video game zombies in the armchair two feet away, but some level of quiet is very helpful. I can, for instance, write while my daughter is watching Sesame Street, but I cannot write while she’s pitching a fit because she doesn’t want what I gave her for lunch.

– Some level of comfort is preferable. For instance, I’d rather write in pajama pants and a tank top than in jeans and a blouse. I’d rather write laying in bed, propped up by pillows, than at a computer desk. Comfort = happy = better writing.

– Just as a last little note, writing is always a slightly happier experience if I have a nice hot drink to sip on while I’m doing it. Coffee is nice, some kind of herbal tea is even nicer, and hot chocolate definitely tops the list. And while we’re at it, some kind of delicious snack doesn’t hurt either. 😉

Dealing with (Imaginary) Death

My daughter loves Sesame Street. She knows a ton of characters, even if she can’t quite pronounce them all (“Tookie! Ahnie!”), and if we’d let her she’d have our living room television playing episodes and specials all day, every day, until the Elmo’s World theme song made our heads explode.

If you can handle ten hours of this a day, you are the toughest person I know.

It is for this reason that my husband tracked down “40 Years of Sunny Days”, a special done a few years back that documented a bunch of famous scenes from over the first (first!) 40 years of the show’s life. I popped the show on the other day, partly for the little missy, but also partly because I was curious to see which of the scenes I remember from my childhood would pop up.

Tell me you don’t remember this, I dare you.

At one point – I believe it was somewhere in the “Years 10-15” section – a scene came on that I’d never caught when I was a kid because it was an old episode by the time I was watching. It was the episode where Mr Hooper dies and the adults have to explain to Big Bird about death. In the scene, Big Bird has drawn pictures of all his adult human friends and is passing them out as everyone oohs and ahhs over what a great job he’s done. When he comes to the end and asks where Mr Hooper is so he can give him his picture the adults go silent and look at each other like no one wants to have to be the one to explain it. They take turns explaining to Big Bird (“Don’t you remember? We told you that Mr Hooper died?”), who reacts with the same kind of misunderstanding, anger, and distress that a small child might. Eventually he comes to grips with what the adults are telling him and says that he’ll miss Mr Hooper, as he hangs the picture he’s drawn up at Hooper’s Store.

I won’t lie; I almost teared up. The baby, of course, had no idea what she was watching, but I certainly did. Strangely, though, the primary thought that was running through my mind as I watched the scene play out was, “How hard must it have been for the writers to prepare this scene?” Unlike writing the deaths of fictional characters, the writers for Sesame Street were writing about the actual death of a man they’d worked with, who had been on the show for many years and was an important part of the world which they’d created together. He wasn’t just a character, he was their friend. I can imagine it would have been even more difficult for the actors who had to perform the scene. In fact, one of the other actors, Bob McGrath, was quoted as saying, “I couldn’t go near the store for about a year after he was gone” and the scene in question was done in one take because the crew was too emotional after the first try to do another one.

The whole thing amazed me quite a bit because of how emotional I can get when my completely fictional characters are killed off. Even though these are people who exist only in my own mind, I’ve found myself nearly in tears when it came time for one of them to die. Maybe that means I’ve written them to be likable. Maybe it just means I’m a huge sook. Either way, it can be surprisingly difficult sometimes. I’ve even been known to fight with myself over whether or not I can change the story so that the character doesn’t have to die. It’s this attitude that is making it so difficult for me to figure out the (eventual) ending to my fantasy novel. Logic dictates that one of two particular characters has to die in order for the ending to make sense, but it kills me to do that to either of them.

Do other writers deal with this, I wonder? I mean, without the character in question being someone they actually knew?