Lets be clear, we’re talking about characters. CHARACTERS!!!!!!
Stephen King is very famous for his quote. “Kill your darlings, kill your darlings even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.”
Now he’s talking about revising and edit, but this could also be seen toward characters. When should you kill of a character?
Of course if your George R.R Martin…. The answer is very different. Seeing as he is not afraid to off some of the good guys for the sake of a good story
I mean think about, how often have you watched a movie or TV show and the main character is in danger and you’re just like meh, they’ll be fine. Why? They’re the main character!! They won’t kill them!
And guess what, most of the time, your right? It takes away the suspense of the moment if you know everyone is going to turn out okay (Minus a few poor red shirts. They really should of worn a different colored shirt today)
But George R.R Martin knows this. That’s when, when his characters get into a fight, he wants you to be afraid to turn the page. Because no one, quote, no one, is safe.
And boy, does that bring up the suspense.
So when should you kill off your own characters?
It’s a problem I’ve been wrestling with it. A lot of characters, I have already decided their fate. There’s this one however, I’ve been going back and forth on if they should die or not.
I guess it’s easier when you know from the beginning character A is going to die. It makes it easier. It’s a lot, lot harder when you’re so unsure. I mean, characters are like my babies sometimes. I’ve been watching them grow, seeing how they develop.
It’s hard knowing if this is the time to let them die, or keep them around.
The one thing I do know about killing characters off, is don’t do it just for shock value. Anyone else heard the saying, “They cry, they buy?” I have and I think it’s cheap. Just trying to shock people into buying more books is not the way to do it.
The characters death needs to mean something. Why are they dying? How does it effect the people around them? Does it serve a purpose?
Because after all, everything in the book should serve a purpose. If it doesn’t, then why the heck was it written in?
Well, that’s about it for me. Do you have problems deciding if a character should die or not? Let me know while I continue to ponder a certain someone’s fate.
Ah, it’s nice to be the author sometimes =)