How to Kill a Character

The ins and outs of character death and how I learned to perfect it

Photo by Ryan Grady on Unsplash

Step 1 — The Premonition

Character death begins before the story even commences. When you are carefully planning out your characters and plot, you should be thinking about the fates of each of your characters. You should never kill a character out of the blue to cause shock or emotion from your readers. Every step must be carefully plotted out — with purpose.

Step 2 — The Reason

Just like your character needs a purpose in your story, you need a purpose for killing your character.

Step 3 — The Aftermath

The moment directly following a character’s death is very delicate and must be treated as such.

Step 4 — Letting Go

If you don’t cry while writing the death scene, you’re not doing it right. Your book is an extension of yourself and your characters should feel like old friends. Do you cry when you lose a friend? Of course, you do. Only this time, you aren’t only losing a friend. You’re the one forcing them to leave in the worst way possible.

Aspiring author and editor of all things. Curiosity is the spark that ignites creation.

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