Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Killing a Book Character

   Authors love a good death scene.

 Writers enjoy doing some really weird stuff. One of those things is killing a character. I'm sure you (as a reader) already know this if you've read a John Green, J.K. Rowling, or Gayle Forman book. All authors that write tragic novels are evil because we crush your soul by killing your favorite character. We've heard it before. If you're a reader, book character deaths destroy you, anger you, make you want to cry; good, that's how we were hoping you would react.

 Death scenes are fun to write, regardless of whether we'd planned it way in advance, or if it was a spur-the-moment decision because we were in a bad mood. Either way, we love 'em! This is another weird writer-thing. I don't know a writer who doesn't love a good, fictional death, especially if a fight is involved.

 Necessarily, you don't have to plan the deaths of all your characters. Some can be spur-the-moment, or slightly planned a few pages or chapters in advance, or you can plan to have this character die before even starting the book!

 Death was planned in advance: Now, if you're one of those authors that start the book off just right, and make it known to your readers that this certain character is going to die before the end...As a reader, you annoy me; as a writer, I respect and applaud you. Because you brought this character to life, made everyone fall in love with him/her, only to kill him/her. I have an example for you: if he had been with me by Laura Nowlin. I read this book recently (I did a review over at Infinite Book Reviews), knew that Finny was going to die as soon as I read the first chapter, then fell in love with him, only to have my heart ripped out by the time he died!

 The hope crusher: You could be the kind of writer that gives hope that this character isn't going to die, that everything will be fine, and then snatch that hope away and crush it. if i stay by Gayle Forman is an example. I thought Teddy was alive and okay. I was convinced that Mia would wake up and she'd figure out a way to take care of him.
That hope was squashed a few chapters later when everything does not turn out okay!

 Planned deaths: You don't have to plan a death, unless you're writing a tragic book that requires you to kill a certain fictional character. In the past, I hadn't really planned character death's because most of them died during a major fight and I felt that it should have been just as much a surprise to my readers as it was to me...and sometimes I was having a bad day and decided to kill a fictional person instead of screaming into a pillow. It's a wonderful stress reliever.

 Attached to a character?: The more you're attached to a character, the harder it is to kill them, so don't get attached! Keep your distance! Make icicles form around your heart and be the cold-hearted writer I know you are so you can kill this character! Usually, if you feel that you have to kill them for the plot, you have to, especially if you planned it in advance.
I'm totally joking; if you really feel like you shouldn't kill this character, then don't unless if you have to for the plot. Always go with your gut!

 Last minute demise: Spur-the-moment deaths can be just as thrilling, or upsetting as a planned one. As long as this character wasn't an unnecessary one and you're just killing them for no reason other than because you realize that they're unimportant to the story, it should be a good death that gets the reader riled up.

 Let the words flow and do what your gut tells you when it comes to killing off characters! Look at J.K. Rowling, she'd planned to kill Ron throughout the series, but could never bring herself to do it. She'd put him into this horrible situation that she didn't think anyone could get out of, then would find a way for him to at the last minute because she couldn't kill him.

 Happy writing! <3


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