by Jeremy Eger
(Deering )

Question: When is it good to kill off characters and is killing many bad or is not killing much bad as well? Most likely killing off characters is going to effect the plot, so i was just wondering.

Answer: It's all about why you kill off a character.

For instance, sometimes you kill a character whom the hero or the reader cares about as a forewarning of what might happen if the hero fails. In other words, you're showing the reader that this fate lies ahead for many other characters unless the hero buckles down and achieves the goal.

Sometimes you kill a character who has the wrong approach, as a way to show the main character that he needs to take the opposite approach.

Sometimes you kill a character for the sake of justice, as when the villain or someone deserving of death dies.

Sometimes you need to get a character out of the way because the main character has been relying on that person and you need the hero to start taking responsibility for solving the problem, so that we can see at the climax whether the main character's approach is right or not.

And there are other reasons as well. The important thing is that you kill a character because their death will move the story forward or illustrate something that heightens the drama. But there's no rule as to the right number of deaths. It depends on your story, the genre, etc.

Comments for Characters

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May 29, 2013
Death and Love Triangle stories
by: Wayne

When a character is torn between two lovers, a noble death is often the solution.

Oct 07, 2013
Lot's of Characters Dead
by: Anonymous

I certainly agree that you should have a reason for killing characters. I the book I'm writing, many characters die, including POV characters. The deaths serve purposes for the plot, and create an atmosphere in the book where the reader can really feel afraid for the characters they love. The characters you kill will have a major influence on the atmosphere in your story.

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