As a vivid reader and am aspiring novelist writing my own stories, I have contemplated on killing off characters before or gotten upset over deaths of some characters that I have read about.
Not to be biased, I’m not talking about the deaths that simply made me sad and miss a character. It’s about the deaths that made no sense whatsoever and didn’t add any value to the story.
I’m not naming any stories here but you surely know which kind of stories I’m talking about. It’s just frustrating to get tortured just for the sake of being tortured?
Kind of feels like watching a 10-season TV show just to be tortured and then being left disappointed. Well. Same goes for books. Here goes a checklist on how to kill a fictional character.
More so, why you should or shouldn’t kill a character off in your story.
Good reasons to kill a character
- Losing a character actually advances the plot.
- The moment fulfills the doomed character’s personal goal.
- The death motivates other characters in the story.
- It’s a fitting recompense for the character’s actions up to this point.
- The death emphasizes the theme. Give it some depth and definition and purpose.
- It creates realism within the story. No character is immortal. (Well, unless you make them to be.)
- The process removes an extraneous character.
Bad reasons to kill a character
- Shocking readers just to shock them. Shock value is important but not every story is Psycho.
- Making the reader sad just to make them sad. If you’re going to torture a reader, at least do it with good reason.
- Removing an extraneous character. This is on both spectrums, because you simply have to double-check whether this extraneous character belongs in the story in the first place.
What are your thoughts on this?