Becoming the Writing Reaper – Knowing When To Kill Off A Character

how_to_kill_a_character__infographicRecently, while working on the second book of the Extraordinary Accounts of the Oskaloosa Oddities Society, a developmental editor, who was looking over what I had written, commented that a particular scene would work ten times better if a certain character was killed versus another.  I’m here to tell you, the moment I read her comments, I started sweating profusely

Many writers become quite attached to the characters in their stories. In fact, they’ll never let anything bad happen to them at all. I’m guilty of this myself. I want my characters to triumph. I want them to win. But, as a storyteller I can tell you, this approach is both limiting and dangerous.

Good stories are always about characters caught up in struggle. The darker the struggle, the deeper the pull. The other day I was reading how J.K. Rowling has always maintained that killing off so many “Harry Potter” peeps was a difficult but necessary task: that they had to die in order to move the story forward.

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