Welcome to yet another post from AM Station for the A-Z Challenge...no, kids, we're not done yet! Still have...a lot more days to go...so...much...blogging...
I am TIRED. So much blogging lately. I have to admit, my MS has been suffering this month due to my attentiveness to my blog. But that's fine, as I've definitely neglected my dusty little corner of the internet in the past, so I suppose I'm making up for it. I'm certainly proud to have made it this far, and it's been such a blessing to have interacted with so many incredible bloggers!
So, How To Kill A Character, as told by Anne Marie Schlueter.
First of all, consider your motive(s). Why are you killing your character? Because it's fun? You morbid person...I like you ;) Is it because J.K. Rowling killed Snape and you just have to take your anger out on SOMEONE and ruin his/her life like Rowling ruined yours?! SAME. Or perhaps because it's just something that's done in writing? I can relate.
Like everything we write, we need a reason. We need a good, solid, realistic reason for every single action that our characters make, for everything we authors throw their way. We need to take into account how this one action is going to affect each character and, of course, the story in its entirety. Basically, we need a pretty good reason to oft a character.
The reasons previously listed are not good reasons. I confess, I've bought into them before. Especially the second one (*whimper* But Snape....). However, they are quite shallow excuses for ending a life(even a fictional one). Our stories deserve better, as do our characters. I used to just kill my characters just because, perhaps for the shock factor or something. While death is a part of life (which is what books are about typically, right), there is a time and a place for death.
When I decide to kill a character, I consider a few different things. First, am I doing this just to surprise my readers? Second, is this furthering the story in some way, in particular, is it furthering character development? Third, is it necessary for the character to be alive in order to advance the plot? Fourth, is the death realistic?
If the answers to these questions lead me to the murder of a character, then I begin to consider how each character will react in a way that suits their respective personalities. People do crazy things when in grief...the craziness can be turned up or down, too, depending on the timing and gruesomeness of the death. Be sure to take that into account. Also, if cheesy dialogue is something you struggle with (my dialogue is the worst when my characters find out about a death), try reading it out loud to see how it sounds.
Lastly, I figure out how my characters will each handle the baggage of the death long-term. Pretty self-explanatory.
As previously stated, death is a part of real life. Therefore, for our writing to be realistic, we must have a place for death. Just be careful not to overuse it, and to think through the reasons why. The book Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher is a great example of how death affects characters differently. It is definitely worth a read, for many reasons, but certainly character development being one of them.
While we're on the subject of death, here's a cool infograph on how to cover up a murder.
What are some reasons you kill your characters?