Killing off a favourite character

In one of my previous posts I wrote that one hallmark for good teenage angst is this:

Either chooses original first love, or the first dies and he/she chooses the second (can be reversed)

I’ve written my novel in such a way that it could be either. I feel that either situation could work (and both would be emotionally painful as intended for the reader), but there’s no doubt that one death would be more ‘angsty’ than the other.

I could follow a Pearl Harbour/Twilight story arch, where the second love dies and the girl ends up with the original first love. In Pearl Harbour the girl loved the second guy the most, but he died. Twilight’s a whole other story…


Source: Summit Entertainment

OR, the girl could ditch the first guy and end up with the second. I’m thinking Hunger Games (or imagine if Bella had chosen Jacob.) Personally, I always preferred Peeta, but my sister was a huge fan of Liam Hemsworth’s hunky good looks and was incredibly disappointed when Katniss ended up with ‘the-wrong-one’.

catching fire

Source: Lionsgate films

I found the inspiration for the killing off scene while sitting in a work meeting. When divine inspiration strikes, it doesn’t matter where you are, you still have to stop everything and write it down. (And there was a very particular reason why I decided that someone had to die.)

I’ve heard (and witnessed) that George R. R. Martin dishes out death-by-karma without prejudice to both good and bad characters alike. It doesn’t matter if you’re “King” Rob Stark, if you do the wrong thing you might just end up in your own version of the Red Wedding. I feel like this is what I’ve done with my hero, she betrayed someone, and now she’s going to suffer the consequences.


Source: HBO

I was thinking about bringing the character back to life, but decided against it after doing a bit of research. Here’s an article that swayed me away from the back-to-life twist (the article’s a bit textbook, but hey): Kill off a hero or other character. Doesn’t give much hope for Jon Snow…

This is honest-to-god the first time I’ve killed off a favourite character and wrote the actual scene. I’m a little bit embarrassed to say that I experienced a range of emotions I did NOT expect to have after making my fictional character take their last breath.

OK admit it; you’ve all done this before…

I think (perhaps-maybe-not-sure) that I’ve decided who’ll be getting the chopping block. And if I’m lucky enough to get some readers, hopefully it won’t upset anyone too much (Looking at you J. K. Rowling -_-)



12 thoughts

  1. Love this post. I’m an avid fan of killing off characters. (Oh, I’ve just realised that sounds a little strange, but you know what I mean.) If none of the good characters get killed, it annoys me. It’s similar to how in action movies the ‘baddie’ can spray the ‘goodie’ with machine gun fire and never hit their target, but the ‘goodies’ only take one bullet to get their shot. I’m intrigued by your book and look forward to reading it. I also feel that constantly bringing characters back to life can ruin the effect you wanted to have by the initial death. (Here’s looking at you Vampire Diaries, even though I love you.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Another leaf from you book I need to take and digest! I’ve never been a fan of killing off ‘good’ characters, but it was fun this time round and I can finally see how it lends some much needed angst & emotional authenticity to a ‘flat’ read.

      Ok so I watched like one episode of vampire diaries or the originals or something last year and all these characters were coming back to life. So weird hahaha

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yep. In both series I never feel bad when a character ‘dies’ as often it’s more like that just have an extra long nap. Game of Thrones on the other hand . . . that’s a different story!

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes exactly! I never thought of it that way. When it comes to movies I demand happy endings because life can get so depressing that I’d rather read/watch something that can take me away for a few hours, to a place where happy endings really do exist. But then here I am writing something sad haha a tad ironic

        Liked by 1 person

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