Death scenes are difficult to pull off convincingly. I am sure that whenever a writer chooses to let one of the characters die, it’s an agonizing decision for him/her.
Killing a character in a series can be quite a hard task. I feel it would require a very strong reason for the character’s death. And the readers have to contend with reading the rest of the books in the series minus their favourite character.
Well, I shouldn’t be saying this, but when Dumbledore died in the Potter books, I cried. I also soaked my handkerchief when Dobby died. Even the characters in Hunger Games, the ones in the arena who had to die a gruesome death made me uncomfortable. I’m not sure I can put myself up to killing one of my characters.
For one of my Picture Books ( I have never written a PB, these are just short stories I hope to pitch as Picture Books), I did make one of the main characters die. My new Crit Partner Andrea Mack was appalled. She thought small children would be distraught at the character’s death. In the new version the death was eliminated.
So far I have been extremely lucky that I have not had to kill a character in my Middle Grade books. Though in the Zespirit Trilogy I am writing, there are a few characters the villain kills. But I show them as flashback scenes. And the readers never meet these characters. They just hear about them.
A writer I met told me that when she doesn’t know what to do with a character she kills them off. I thought that was weird and sheer laziness. There has to be a better reason to kill a character. Killing a character and starting the story in flashback is taking the easy way out. But it’s a workable idea.
I feel that the death of any character should be crucial to the plot. The character’s death should literally turn the story upside down. There should be a strong plot twist, a few revelations and secrets that tumble out of the closet with the death of a character.
Have any of you killed a character in your books? Do you plan to kill a favourite character in one of your stories? How will you go about it? The death of which character in a book made you feel sad? Any killing advice you can give us?