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Preview: Comments on: Killing Off a Character

Comments on: Killing Off a Character

A mutual support group for SF/F Novelists

Last Build Date: Sat, 21 Feb 2015 20:10:56 +0000


By: Adalberto

Sun, 23 Jun 2013 09:44:15 +0000

Excellent way of telling, and good paragraph to take facts on the topic of my presentation subject, which i am going to convey in college.

By: Allyson

Fri, 17 Sep 2010 01:20:19 +0000

I usually kill off characters when it either ties in to the story's theme, or when it alters the protagonist's agenda so much, I couldn't undo it. I don't mind suspense-building deaths, but I have trouble putting much heart into them. I like my death scenes either sad and poignant, or frightening and gripping, but I can't accomplish either that way. I used to cry when I killed a character, but my writer friends made fun of me for it. Recently I noticed that the deaths I cried over were MUCH better written, so I think I'm going back to crying. I don't weigh a character death as heavily as any real life tragedy, but I realized that when I let myself cry, I lavished a lot more love on the story than if I didn't, in which case there was no emotion.

By: Patrick L Hines

Mon, 15 Feb 2010 23:44:56 +0000

I'm sorry but I have invented characters in my book that I am writing just to kill them off, it enables me to add humour, also for other characters to grow. To be honest I like killing off characters. I do maintain one should keep a main character alive to grab imaginations and emotions though.

By: Cygnus

Wed, 29 Jul 2009 03:00:53 +0000

While I'm ok with the process of eliminating one(or more!) characters in order to give a plot the metaphorical kick in the rear, one thing taht really pisses me off and turns me off of a series or book is when they do it periodically, jsut to draw attention for the "Drama" factor. Several TV shows i've not liked have done this..."Whoops, ratings are dropping again! Who do we kill now? *rubs hands together in glee...*". Yeah, i HATE it when that happens. I guess that old saying, too much of anything can kill you applies here as much as anywhere else. Just make sure you dont overdo it with your killing.

By: David B. Coe

Wed, 10 Dec 2008 23:31:25 +0000

Absolutely, Rhett. That's the risk that we writers take when we kill off characters, and even with my efforts to make every character at least SEEM threatened, I'm aware that with each book I enter into a compact of a sort with my readers. They'll let me get away with doing certain things to my characters and killing off some who are beloved. But on some level we all know that there are some characters who just. Can. Not. Be. Killed. Cross that line, and we've got a problem.

By: Rhett Hudson

Wed, 10 Dec 2008 20:22:20 +0000

In almost every case, I like this philosophy of character management. In fact, its one of the things that I like about certain authors. George R. R. Martin is another author who is ruthless with his characters. But, I did reach a point in his books where he could have lost me. There is a point, in the third book I think, where a chapter ends and it appears that he may have killed off my favorite character. I had to flip forward in the book to make sure it wasn't so. I swear I would have stopped reading right there if that character was dead. Now the body count in the rest of the series is high. Including characters that I cared about deeply. That's part of what makes that series great. But, for me at least, I did find that there was that line. If he'd crossed it, he would have lost me.

By: Jana Oliver

Sun, 16 Nov 2008 23:15:01 +0000

I agonize over killing characters. I cry when I do. Now I'm pretty thick skinned in real life, but when I off a character, I lose it. The current book required one particular character to die. I did not want to kill her. I liked her a lot and she was a love interest for someone who so desperately needed someone in their life. But I had to kill her. It wouldn't have worked otherwise. I wept. No doubt the readers will as well. Instead of killing off a character, I prefer to put them through H*ll, killing some aspect of their personality, their beliefs, a principle they revere. Then I examine how that "death" affects them, how they feel as a person, their future decisions. I often find that more fulfilling than upping the body count. It just depends on the story.

By: Bright Meadow » Blog Archive » Sunday Roast: I am just a bit undone

Sun, 16 Nov 2008 12:17:26 +0000

[...] lacks the balls and skill to continue the story without this pivot. So it pleases me to find authors willing to kill main characters off. (I am also reminded of the very start of Buffy the Vampire Slayer [tv], where one of the main [...]

By: David B. Coe

Fri, 14 Nov 2008 18:37:39 +0000

Glad you found the post helpful! Sometimes we as writers need to shake things up, to move our characters (and thus ourselves) out of the comfort zone. Hope the changes work out well for you.

By: cedunkley

Fri, 14 Nov 2008 18:17:25 +0000

I realized that I do indeed kill off someone in the first chapter of my current WIP. This death wasn't there in the original writing of this opening scene but something that I felt I needed to add after I had written a bit of the first draft. The death is there for a purpose and something that comes out of it becomes central to one of the main sub plots. There has been one thing bothering me about it though and that it who gets killed. The person is meaningless in the greater scheme of things. So, it just hit me that I need to change who gets killed and make that person important to my POV character who witnesses this. And I also realized that I needed to make one of my more important characters an actual POV character. I took a look and discovered that none of my POV characters are set to die in my WIP and by adding this character, whose death is really the turning point in the lives of all my POV characters, as a POV character I think it will add to the book - and let the reader know not to think that just because a character is a POV character they are somehow "safe". So, thanks for this post. It has helped me identify a couple of things that have been nagging my about my WIP, which naturally leads to solutions to them.