Holy [expletive], I just brutally killed one of my characters!

fictionalcharactersSo, um…yeah. All of the corners in my bedroom are occupied by furniture or something else, so where am I supposed to crawl into a ball and weep?

Alright, let’s be serious here, killing off your characters is tough. Who but we, the authors, have a greater connection to our characters? It can be a lot like losing a close friend, their roles in the story are forever over.

However, it needs to be done. Even in the animated children Disney‘s Classics films, that taught myself and my generation about many of the important lessons in life, there were tragic deaths. People die. That’s life. Harsh, but only fools run away from that truth.

I would argue that some characters even require their death in a story. In those cases, death serves to justify our notions of who they were and what they truly stood for, because it is commonly said that we do not get to choose the time or manner of our own ending, but how we face the end is up to us. A character’s death can sometimes therefore close the book on their story and we can hallow them as people, and as readers and witnesses to their deeds we can decide how much they meant to us. It can be difficult to do that when the character is still in the middle of their journey, because we see it as still undone and anything could happen next, and life itself is sometimes taken for granted.

So how was my first big character killing experience? Well, I’ve had deaths occur already so far in the story, however those few characters were already on their death beds so to speak, and none were as important as the two that inspired this post. In one scene there was a sharp out-of-the-blue moment where my characters found themselves in danger, but that was not where the deaths occurred. We’ve seen that in Ice and Fire before, am I right? **Moving along…..BAM dead! “Lol reader you should have seen the look on your face!” –GRRM**

No, this sharp twist led to another scene, a horrific scene that I did not think I was capable of writing. One of those passages that you read through with your mouth open and a disgusted expression on your face…yet you’ve never paid so much attention to each word. Those scenes where you say “wow, that was fucked!” and “that was so good!” at the same time. And I should add that no, this is not a rape scene that happens more often than not in a fantasy book, if that’s what you were thinking. Not at all.

For the one who made it out alive, the event will forever change who they are, and what they will become. This is the journey of one of my POV characters, a hard life without a break. I’m so sorry what I had to do to that character, they will not forgive me, and I do not expect them to, not for a long time, but the story demands it. At least when I have to kill off a character again, it will not be this difficult. The worst is over.

Have you killed off your characters before? How was the experience?

© 2013 FOTS Fantasy

3 comments

  1. *Sends flowers* My condolences. Fiction goes on, though 😉

  2. I had a character marked for death. No tears would have been shed. After writing the scene I thought he’d die, he ended up making it out alive. Good for him. Then he became central to the main character. I started getting attached to the guy. Now he’s dead.

    After GRRM, though, I’ve a new respect for character deaths. We’re turning more and more towards books that aren’t fairy tales, but books which could have happened, a sort of realistic fantasy. You’re the king, we’re mesmerized by your charisma, you’re so going to unit the world…and you die from a plague and your son who was given bad advice has taken the throne. We both abhor and love that raw grittiness of meaningless and random death, of taking well thought out plots and plans that we are so expecting and dashing them as a beautiful vase against a wall. It’s an entirely new form of horror where all we know is we know nothing and everything is possible.

    Overall, though, I’ve never been that tied. I feel empty and a little sad, but sacrifice is required. On our part and theirs. Keep up the writing!

    1. Thanks for the comment! Very true about the new wave of realism in the genre. I have found it quite refreshing, and now I love the new way and the old. Now, I was exaggerating somewhat on my emotions, I wasn’t literally shedding tears as I typed, haha. I felt more for my main character, because in their case, still being alive is worse than if he had died with the others. It was also the disturbing context of the scene, but I don’t want to give away anything.

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