Death of Your Character (For Writers)

There are many interesting fates each character in a book, movie, or even video game, are faced with. From the harrowing tale of Romeo and Juliet, or that of Game of Thrones, there are so many different ways a character can become a hero, or become killed. Today, I’ll be touching on the basis of death, of how this affects your other characters whom are still amongst the living, and how each death has a lesson to be learned.

I’ll never tire of the many different creative ways authors’ create the death of their characters, whether they are main ones or side characters. To being, there are a multitude of physiological aspects to writing out a story. To create each character, to build up their very life from the ground up – takes quite a lot of energy, time, and dedication to understanding each and every single one of them.

There have been many instances where I’ve read a line that intrigued me, or garnered my attention, even more then it should have. This is solely due to the prowess a writer harbors. It’s truly remarkable how life, even in a book, can be so unpredictable. In this manner, a book harnesses the mystic secrets of life, and translates it in such an amazing way, that even a reader can be left wondering how impactful a situation truly was, and the lasting impression it has left on them for the rest of their own life.

I usually find myself contemplating the fates of my own characters at times, wondering how long each one will live in the entire span of the series I have yet to pen down completely. It both amazes me, and overwhelms me, with unspeakable emotions. Just to think about the countless possibilities, creates a whirlwind of life in me. As ironic as it may sound, the idea of death in the stories I have written, gives me an unknown rush of mystery. To contemplate whether a character will live on to see another day, or whether a character will met their demise just a couple of words away, gives me a sense of humbleness and humanness. It reminds me, that no matter who we are as people, we will always remain susceptible to both the beauties of life, but moreover, to the esoteric tragedies of life as well.

For the most part, I usually don’t kill off my main characters so easily. Of course, there will be two or three instances throughout the series when a main character dies so unexpectedly, that even the reader will be left speechless and completely floored. But for the most part, each of my character’s death has meaning, it has purpose, and it leaves the reader with more unheard questions then it does solid answers, because if we’re honest with one another – life works in this same manner. We as people are usually left with countless more questions then we are left with stable answers when someone we know dearly passes on from this life.

Unmistakably so, the fate of one character undoubtedly alters the fate of another.

There are many reasons as to why certain characters are met with death throughout the span of a story. It’s important to realize that just like in life, the death of a character holds the very same weight as a death in real life (for readers, at any rate). So you should not only be careful about who you kill in your stories, but you should moreover, have a time of grieving for each fallen character. I’ve seen at times, some characters die off with absolutely no mention after their death. It’s as if they never existed, and to some degree, real life can work in this manner as well. But as a reader, nothing turns me off more then a senseless death. Because ironically enough, even senseless killing in a story should leave a reader with the same amount of mixed emotions that a meaningful death leaves.

Every death, to a varying degree, should hold some kind of emotional scar or mark. It just doesn’t seem realistic if all emotions are voided out of a death-scene. Of course, the only true exception to this, are completely sociopathic characters. But like I sated before, even senseless killing in a book should still leave the reader in awe and disturbance. It shouldn’t feel shallow and dismissive; otherwise, you risk losing the attention of a lot of readers.

As I sign off for this day’s post, I’ll leave you all with one piece of writing advice: Never be too afraid to push the limits of your characters, for in strength, comes the possibility of a mighty and honorable death.

Forever in Your Debt,

R.S. Noel

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