Killing off Characters and Characters Deaths

How I feel when I have to write a character's death.

How I feel when I have to write a character's death.

Ugh!  This is a nightmare.  Having a character in your story die is akin to cutting off a finger or scoping out a favorite memory in your brain, never to have it again.  How do you handle this? What do you do?  Do you George R. R. Martin and kill with abandon and giggle while you do it (I’m not saying he does that, but I kind of am)? Do you kill the character and surprise! They weren’t really dead and it was all dream (ala Dallas – If you don’t know the TV Show Dallas or what I’m talking about, then Google it)? Do you go in writing a story like Stephen King and know you’re gonna kill a lot of people and not worry about it?

Character deaths are difficult and painful.  People will ask, does it serve the plot?  Why would I kill a character if it doesn’t serve the plot?  Of course it serves the plot.  Are you doing it for shock value?  Um… I don’t think so.  Cause, let me tell you it’s painful to write. So, if all I want to do is shock the reader, then I could have my characters run around naked and describe it in full detail… now that would be shocking.

The death of a character sucks!  I hate the idea of killing a character I love, and one that has potential. A character that I could do so much more with later on in the book or series, why do they need to die? – pounds fits on desk.

Perhaps, that is the point.  It’s like real life, when people die before their time.  When they have so much more to do, and poof, for whatever reason they die leaving all those things left undone.

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As a writer, I have to think about these things.  Do I quiet a voice?  Do I bring a young life to a bitter end?  Do I leave the character alive and suffer the consequences with the other characters?  There is so much to figure out, and so much to consider.  It’s never an easy choice. When I’ve had to do it, I won’t lie there have been tears.

I wish I could sit down with the character, talk to them and explain why what I’m planning is for the best of the story.  Would it make it easier?  Probably not.  Would I feel better about it? Nope.