I once read a historical fiction series that concluded abruptly at the end of the third book (6 had been advertised and planned). The author explained in a brief note:
"Having been compelled by history to kill off my favorite character," he said (I've always loved that line!), he couldn't go on with the series.
This is kind of happening to me-- I'm writing a novel about a niece of Jane Austen's. Her mother dies, and I just don't want to go on and on about that. It (like early death in real life!) is a shock and completely interrupts the story, that's unavoidable in both cases.....but I don't want it to take over the story, either.
In books that are all fiction, people just leave out these kinds of things--which is probably why, although ALL of Jane Austen's brothers lost their first wives to death, this never happens in any of her books (lots of things happen in my book, though, that she would never include --we go to places she didn't). Just as most novels of the period never include children dieing and they did, often -- the only one I can think of that includes it is BARRY LYNDON; and I never read it, just saw the movie....anyway I want this book to be true, but I want it to be a novel with form and shape and A GOOD STORY, too.
So what I've done is let the mother die, have the child react, then skip ahead in time, to when it's just sort of underneath everything but not dominating Cassy's consciousness. What do you think? Can you do that in a kid's book?
Well, I HAVE done it, and what I should do is just give myself permission--but it would help to know what other people think about that choice.