Video Blog: The Problem With Killing Off Characters

Went back to my preschool roots today and decided to wear my hair in pigtails. No random reason, just thought it would make me come off as mature and intellectual as I discussed literature with you all.

Haha, totally kidding. 😉 We all know I couldn’t come off as intellectual if I tried. What I really wanted to do was to discuss when a dramatic death is important to a story, and when it comes off as just plain depressing. So I’m shedding some insight into when it’s okay to kill off your characters and when you’re better off keeping them alive. Heavy stuff.



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  1. * Anne-girl says:

    Death is certainly not necessary for sadness. My book{the first in a series} has no death in it but i still cried a lot writing it. Tears are good. It’s like happy for deep people. Making your reader feel is important, but I would definitely agree that you should never put something sad in just so you can have a “sad scene” In my second book that i wrote back in the winter I did that. The queen died and i wrote a very tragic scene about it. But her death had no bearing on the story and so it came off as really stilted. I absolutely howled re-reading it the other day. It was so funny!

    One thing I’ve learned is that you invest emotionally in the plot as well as the characters. If something doesn’t help the plot it will read just as weird as when a character acts uncharacteristically. Whereas if something has to do with the plot it will tend to be much more well written.

    | Reply Posted 5 years, 7 months ago
  2. * Amalee Bowen says:

    I definitely think that sometimes a character’s death can add a lot to the plot and really have an impact on the story. Especially if it is a book that deals with a difficult problem like war. If no one dies, then the book doesn’t feel realistic. Killing off characters makes the danger of the story feel real and serious.

    However, even in books that deal with heavy subjects the death of a loved character can ruin the whole story if it isn’t properly handled. That is why many people don’t like the last book of the Hunger Games trilogy. In the last book a couple of well-loved characters die, but their deaths feel kind of glossed over and you’re left going…wait what? Did that really just happen? Was that really necessary? And it kind of makes the ending depressing, even though there is a hopefulness to the ending.

    So I think it really just depends on how the author handles the death of a character and if that death adds to the story or just kind of happens and the story moves on.

    | Reply Posted 5 years, 7 months ago
  3. I totally agreed with you here, Rachel! You made some really good points. In the past, I have killed off quick a few characters, because they got annoying, and I wanted some way of getting them out of the novel/story. 🙂 (They were first drafts, come on!)
    It’s interesting, because I hate it when characters die in books I read, but I kind of enjoy writing the deaths of characters. Heck, that must mean that my characters aren’t very good, because I sometimes don’t even get sad when I kill them off. 😀 Some I do nearly cry, though. 🙂
    I think that killing off characters can be a good writing exercise, because it gives you practice in writing with emotion. I think that some of my best scenes are ones when people die. I mean, I try to feel what my character is feeling, and so I write their emotion. 🙂
    Haha, I hope all that makes sense. 🙂

    | Reply Posted 5 years, 2 months ago

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