For a series, killing a character requires a really strong motive. The readers know that the next lot of books will be minus that particular character. The character’s death should literally turn the story upside down. There has to be a really solid reason for a character dying. As the readers can be really unforgiving if a favourite character dies without a strong reason. Not only will they feel cheated, they will feel you have done a personal injustice to them. They may even lose interest in the next lot of books of the series.
For those Harry Potter lovers, remember that there was a strong plot twist when Cedric Diggory died. Voldemort was gaining his body back. Sirius Black’s death was crucial to the story as Harry had to be deprived of the one man he could count as a parent. Sirius was the over indulgent parent/guardian trying to make up for lost time by turning a blind eye to Harry’s acts of fool hardiness. He could be accused of overlooking Harry’s flaws. It was important to isolate Harry and intensify his inner conflict. Dumbledore’s death was a cruel blow. Harry was left without a mentor and guide. But it was crucial to make him self dependant and summon his inner strength to wage that final battle against Voldemort.
Killing a character and starting the story in flashback is taking the easy way out. I do plan to kill few characters who are a part of my collection of stories which I hope to convert into a book. I need to work on a strong motive to explain their deaths. There has to be a crucial plot twist when these characters die. The death of a character has to intensify the inner conflict, it has to be the darkest moment of the book. It has to literally crumble the protagonist’s world, until he or she summons the strength to set it right. It should propel the protagonist into the next series of actions which will culminate in the climax and make him win the battle to effectively justify the death of the character.
Have any of you created a death scene in your stories and books? Do you plan to kill a favourite character in your WIP? How will you go about it? Any killing advice you can give us?
P.S. I did not cry when Voldemort died. Or when Bellatrix died.