Should You Kill Off A Character?

By on January 20, 2022

Wondering whether you should kill off a character? Read on to discover if it is the right time!

There comes a time in every author's life when they have to decide whether or not it might be time to say a fond farewell to a character they've created and kill them off. It can be tough for authors to let go. However despicable the character or timely the death may be, we can often find ourselves thinking up weird and wonderful twists to keep them living on.

On the other hand, we might find ourselves desperate to ensure that one of our characters meets their maker and may have been plotting their demise from the outset!

The truth is that there are sometimes good reasons to kill a character and sometimes wrong reasons to do so. Making sure that you are doing so because it will enhance your story and make your readers react, is imperative.

What are some of the right reasons to kill off a character?

Advances the plot
Allows the protagonist to fulfill their goal
Promotes action and inspires others
Changes the course of action
Emphasizes the theme
Makes the fictional world and plot more believable
Removes a character who was important, but no longer has a place in the story

And what are some terrible reasons to kill a character?

To shock your readers (but for no other purpose). Shock value and exciting twists have their place, but shocking a reader for the sake of it without any other reason is not advisable.
To try to evoke emotion in your readers (but for no other purpose). Making your readers cry can help connect them to the story. However, if you are killing beloved characters off and it doesn't advance the story or inspire action, you might make them feel betrayed and annoyed too.
To remove a character because they are no longer significant (but never were necessary). If this is the case, you must ask yourself why you included the character in your story in the first place.

From the above, you will have a better understanding of what will make a character's death seem intentioned. Also what could make your characters end frustrate and irritate your readers. This will contribute to the success of your book, as well as

Pay attention to your characters!

Remember, all your characters should have a specific and clear purpose to be included in your novel and a precise reason to be removed. If you are confident that a character's death will fulfill a purpose, and you feel it's time to let them go, go for it! But make sure there is something or someone else there to fill the hole that they will leave.

So now you know when you should kill off a character, why not learn more about how to write a great death?

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