Writing Death Scenes – How To Do It Well

By on September 19, 2019

When it comes to writing death scenes, most writers find themselves getting a little bit anxious. Let's admit it when it comes to killing off our characters; many writers struggle. But as readers, well, we all love a good death scene, don't we?

It can be difficult for any writer to kill an important character or even any character for that matter. But the critical thing to remember is that if you are going to do it, you sure as hell need to make it count.

If a reader simply glosses over your character's death without even so much as the blink of an eye, then you are going severely wrong. Even if the character whose end you bring about is one that your readers love to hate, they still need to FEEL something about it. So the ability to write an emotional death scene is crucial.

So what are some helpful tips for writing death scenes?

Make your readers care about the character

Of course, if you want your readers to be affected by the death, you need them to care. If your readers are emotionally invested in the character the end should crush them. It should make them cry, leave a big fat hole in their hearts. Killing off a character who you've allowed your audience to adore can be cruel, but it's also very powerful too!

Make your readers loathe the character

Everyone loves to see the untimely demise of a character they hate. So when it's time for your hero to rise above and your villain to finally be obliterated, it's vital that your reader feels that same sense of relief and even jubilation that the reign of terror is finally over!

Make sure the death affects the remaining characters

Of course, let's not forget that there are still characters left in your story (hopefully). So if you want to ensure your death scene makes an impact, the reader needs to learn about what kind of effect it has had on the other characters. They must see how the story changes because of it. If this doesn't happen, what was the point of killing the character off in the first place?

Avoid cliches like the plague (see what I did there?)

Stereotypes and cliches have no place in magnificent death scenes, so try to make sure you avoid them. Otherwise, your reader will find it difficult to feel deeply affected. Focus on being wonderfully unique and fill your death scene with arresting images and carefully crafted action to ensure your readers stay hooked until the very last breath.

Be unpredictable

Of course, a death that readers see coming from a mile away is never as exciting as one that shocks them to their very core. So don't be afraid to take risks in your death scenes and your choice of characters to kill. Your readers may be left reeling, but it certainly makes for an entertaining story!

By using the above tips, you can make sure that your death scenes are richly emotional and full of drama, tension, and are truly riveting. So whether your reader is relieved, overjoyed, or utterly devastated, you know that your death scene has had the intended effect.

So now you know all about writing death scenes, why not learn whether you should kill off your character?

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bethany cadman
Bethany Cadman - bethanycadman.co.uk

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