Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Saddest Scene: Authors Pass the Tissues

Sad scenes that squeeze our hearts and wet our eyes are as unforgettable as the love scenes, maybe more so, as they are turning points in the plot.

How often have you pulled out the tissues? What is one of the saddest scenes you've written?

Michal has to leave Phalti and go back to David:
He wrapped his arms around Anna and me, his huge body wracked with sobs. When Abner pulled Phalti back, I pushed Anna into his arms. “My baby girl, don’t forget me.”

... “Michal ... (now) I believe you (love me).” He pressed his face into Anna’s neck, looked at me, and walked out of my life holding the dearest part of me in his arms. As we rounded the next bend, I lost sight of them. [2nd Samuel 3:14-16]

Michal's Window by Rachelle Ayala

A Soldier's Heartbreak
Galvanized by fury, he screamed the words that had blocked his throat and his heart. “Because, for Christ sake, because I had no choice. It was kill them or let them kill my men.”

The words burst out fueled by rage and colored by pain. His lips wobbled uncontrollably, and tears globbed his eyes. He shook so hard he dropped onto the sofa and lowered his head into his hands. A sob escaped, forcing him to bite down hard on bloodied lips, but the next sob escaped, and so did the next.

His Devious Angel by Mimi Barbour

Andrea's Letter
To my one and only friend, Maya. By the time you get this letter, if you get it at all, I’ll be gone already. You should know, the days you spent with Anna, and me well, those were the best days ever. I never had a friend like you and never a friend I could sneak into the house...

Oh, and Maya, don’t be sad for me. I know we’ll see each other again. It’ll be in a place where bad people don’t exist, pain doesn’t exist, only happiness and fun. A place where I’ll see her alive, my baby, she was a girl, Maya. I’ll see her and you and yeah, we can play Rock Band forever! And, I challenge you to a pillow fight! And we won’t get in trouble anymore. Yay!
Love forever, Andrea~
Twenty Weeks by Melisa Hamling

Death Scene:
Do you remember watching “Old Yeller” and crying about his death?  Remember the death scene in “My Girl?”  I cried all the way home from the movie theater both times.  I’m not sure readers want to read a book because they learn of a heart-wrenching death scene, but in my sci-fi novel “The Havenshire Resistance” the death of a beloved wolf is not really the end.  Check it out.  In location 5809 Chapter 16, Amber lies in the snow bleeding to death.  Tessa can’t save her life but she can “host” her mind.

The Havenshire Resistance by Diane Rapp, author of the Heirs to the Throne YA science fiction trilogy

The saddest scene that I have written was during my newest book, Rise of the Infected. Who would guess that a zombie story would make me cry, but it did! I think its probably because the book is more about what it truly means to be human, and not just about the deadly creatures aching for your flesh;)

Rise of the Infected by Monique Morgan, releasing October 31

In the world of Adelheid, animators are humans with the magical ability to temporarily reanimate dead bodies. The "newer" the dead, the more intelligence and personality they retain for the time they're animated. In "Voracious" -- book three in the Adelheid series, available singly or as part of the three book bundle -- there is a scene where the narrator witnesses an animator, at the mouth of a newly reopened grave, Raising the recently deceased body of a young soldier who had died in the Middle East so that his young wife could say good-bye and "I love you" one more time, and hear him say it back. He apologizes for leaving her so soon. This moment was sad and touching, but also incredibly creepy. I managed to make myself choke up and get a chill at the same time, but it's one of my favorite scenes.

Voracious (Adelheid Book #3) by Mia Darien

But the young dwarf couldn’t move through her fear. She knew she just watched her husband die right in front of her eyes.

 “Halli!  You need to get to them immediately and resurrect them before it’s too late!”  Still no response. Kaidyla took her friend by her shoulders and shook her gently until Halli finally looked at her, and tears streamed down her face.

“Go!  Now!” commanded Kaidyla.

Nature's Unbalance (The Chosen Book 2) by Andrea Buginsky

The sky was a uniform dull gray color, leaden and overcast, a light drizzle falling. My yellow Camaro was a source of memories of Eden, as I got in, wearing the same clothes as yesterday, and drove back to Uncle Jack’s mansion in the mountains.
The light drizzle turned to rain, as we all stood around Uncle Jack’s mahogany coffin while it was lowered into the ground.
My life was officially over. Even if opening day of the new season were the next day, instead of eight months from today, I couldn’t summon up enough energy to play.
Eden was gone. Uncle Jack was gone.
My life was over.

All for Love by Jon Bradbury

Lilly Price is falling for Zach Woodbridge, but she has a horrible secret she's tried to bury from her past life. The time has come, and Lilly can no longer lie to Zach. She tells him about being accused of killing her fiance, but the hard part is telling him why the police think she has motive. Her fiance, Charles, was a sadistic monster who delighted in beating Lilly and mentally abusing her, breaking her spirit and self-esteem. Her biggest fear, as she tearfully relates the story to Zach, is that Charles was right, and that Zach will never love her.

Always & Forever by Chantel Rhondeau

The most tear-jerking scene I've ever written actually never made it into print.  In the early drafts of my first novel, Summer Solstice, one of the main characters, 14-year-old Nicholas Brandeis, dies.  The "death bed" scene in the hospital had me crying when I was writing it.  The death of this character produced such a profoundly negative reaction from my beta readers that I decided to change the story.

Summer Solstice by G. M. Frazier

My debut novel, Only In Her Dreams, features a scene when my heroine visits her mother, who suffers from dementia, at a nursing home. The scene was traumatic to write and I still cry every time I re-read it. Thankfully, a great writing friend, Lucie Ulrich, helped me hone this emotional section of my story to incorporate the gut-wrenching sadness of the moment, enabling me to convey this to my reader.

Only In Her Dreams by Christina McKnight

“Pull off the road for a sec so I can talk to you without worrying that you’re going to drive off the road.”
 “Why would I do that?”
 “Just do it, babe.”
 She’d lapsed into silence again. “Okay, I’m parked now. What do you want to tell me?”
 He’d braced himself for the killing shot. “I wasn’t alone last night.” Silence. “I didn’t do anything, but I thought about it.” He added to himself, I didn’t do anything last night at least… More silence. “Chér, are you still there? Chér?”

A Wicked Awakening by Calinda B.

Morgan calls her father after she receives an urgent message:
“Go ahead, Dad. Please.” She moved about the room, unable to be still, as her heart rate accelerated again.
“Shelly, Ian and Tom…they—”
“What? What’s wrong with them?” She gripped the phone until her knuckles whitened.
“They’re…they’re gone, honey.”
Morgan stopped in her tracks. “What do you mean they’re gone? What does that mean? They’re missing? How long? The guys and I’ll be on the first plane—”
“No, honey. They’re dead.”

Be sure to check out the books on the 14 Saddest Scene Listmania from Amazon

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Okay, they're all sad, but which one was the SADDEST for you? Please leave a comment!


  1. Great post, Rachelle. There are a few books on this list I haven't seen before.

  2. Great post! Love to see all these authors!

  3. Great list of books. I need more time for reading! The saddest scene I've written is the tragedy dividing the town in Divide by Zero.

  4. Great post, Rachelle. The saddest scene I've written is in an essay I've submitted for inclusion in an anthology. It describes how I handled my sister's death. I'm channeling that emotion into a scene about death in my WIP. Thanks for giving such great examples!