I’ve written lots of stories over the years, and have created many characters other than the main protagonists and antagonists. Everyone always warns against creating “flat” characters, so as a writer I try to give as much depth as possible. After spending hundreds of hours and drinking gallons of Red Bull I get a character just right, just to find out I don’t need them anymore. So now what do I do with them? Do I simply write them out of the story and never mention them again? Or do you kill them off?
I’ve killed my share of supporting characters over the years. Sometimes it doesn’t affect me; I can run a spike through one character and not think twice about it. However, there are some characters where I’ve been on the fence on whether I should kill them. In those instances I ask myself why I’m so attached.
Does my protagonist rely too much on them? Then it might be time for a change. Nothing ends a dependency like a good ole death and it could be what’s needed to get the story moving again. Will this death help advance the plot of the story? If yes, cock your pistols, aim, and fire. I know that seems harsh but death happens in real life and it should happen in fiction, otherwise the story will be dull, flat, and lack realism.
But even when I know I should kill a character for the stories sake, it’s sometimes hard to do. There are chapters and scenes I’ve rewritten several times trying to avoid it, but in the end I had to let them go.
What do you think? If you are a writer, is it hard for you to kill characters you love? If you are a reader, what’s your reaction when a supporting character you really like is written off or killed?
Leave your comments below. I would love to hear your views.
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Peace and Love to All!