How to Write a Novel in 10 Steps: Step 7 – Live or Die?

This is another one about characters yay (I should have plenty to say about this)! Well, as I said before characters are like real people and what do real people do? They die, eventually (sorry for the blunt attitude but that’s just my way). Therefore your characters should also die at some point. I’m not saying that your story should end with a mass death caused by a nuclear explosion or something like that. I’m saying that you should consider each character’s life span. Some characters are doomed to die, like Romeo and Juliet or anyone who jumps into a pit of lava. Others are born survivors, like Bear Grylls (a real person, I know, but I thought it was funny). What you need to do is decide who, if any, of your characters will bite the dust. Even the main character can die if he/she feels that way out, no one is exempt (unless you decide they’re not going to die, then obviously that’s fine).

Me, I get some kind of sadistic kick out of killing off a character and seeing the reactions of the remaining character. I only killed one character (on the hero side, plenty of killing in other areas) in my original draft of Across the Wall. In my new draft I have introduced a new character with new relationships with the main character, Emma, with the sole purpose of killing him later on (good God I’m evil). In the sequel I’ve planned four deaths and no one is exempt from the possibility of kicking the bucket. Each death does make sense, however. You cannot just kill people willy nilly, it’s practically murder and people won’t like it. Take Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows for example. J.K Rowling killed far too many characters in my opinion and most of them didn’t need to be killed. I know it was a war and everything but still, I think she may have gotten a little death happy.

So, you can kill people if you want (in your story not in real life) just be sure that its serves a purpose. Unless you’re writing a tragedy, then by all means kill all of your characters.

~ by Jess Wiles on February 20, 2011.

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