How to Kill One of Your Characters

writing, characters death, novels,The problem with developing your characters and making them as realistic as possible is that when you have to kill one of them, you hesitate. I’m at a point in my latest book where I need to write a death scene for one of my favourite characters. This person has been with me throughout the first book and now, in the sequel, I must say goodbye. I’m not joking, it is such a difficult thing for me to do that I’m into another chapter and still haven’t done the dastardly deed. This has been going on for over a week and I have decided that this weekend it just HAS to happen. I know how, where and when to do it, but as crazy as this must seem, I keep putting it off. I even thought about scrapping the scene altogether but it’s a vital part of the story and leads to life changing circumstances for the other main characters. So (sniff, sniff) needs must.

Does anyone else have this problem? I’ve just finished a trilogy and in the third book, a character who had been there from the beginning dies, but I knew from the second book that this was going to happen – and I still got a little teary-eyed. Maybe I just need time to accept my character’s fate once I’ve sealed it. The plus side of this, is that I’m writing more chapters than I intended, by putting off the dreaded event. I have even added a twist that injects a bit of mystery into the story.

If certain words in this post get picked up by search engines on the hunt for criminal activity, I promise, it’s all in my head. Keeping the characters out of my heart is the problem.

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About Jean Reinhardt

Author of 'A Pocket Full of Shells' an Amazon International best seller, Jean writes young adult and historical fiction. She has been known to shed a tear over Little House on the Prairie.
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9 Responses to How to Kill One of Your Characters

  1. mysm2000 says:

    Reblogged this on Ms M's Bookshelf and commented:
    Most of what I write online is reviews of books, movies, plays, and sometimes music. On occasion, I write opinions about magazine articles and events or even my rambling thoughts about coincidences and observations. Many of the blogs I follow, though, are by authors who are writing with inspiration, creating characters and plots that are entertaining or thrilling or full of adventure. One of these people is Jean Reinhardt who has written this delightful mindscape about one of the problems she has in her writing. I hope you enjoy my Sunday Reblog!

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    • Thank you very much for the reblog. It has been more than 24 hours since I wrote this post and my character is still ALIVE. I promised myself I would have the ‘job’ done by this evening. I’ve failed miserably. However tomorrow, Monday, is my day off work so I am determined to complete this task before that day is over. Wish me luck.

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  2. Topaz says:

    Ugh, I can completely sympathise! I think I have a problem – in my book, one of the MCs dies and when I wrote it I was literally sitting there sobbing over my computer. This can’t be normal, can it? 😉 The good news is I was able to bring him back later – it was needed for the development of the other MC, but I think I’m going to have to kill him AGAIN (for real this time!) in the second book in the trilogy. Which, you know, I’m really really not looking forward to. :/

    Sorry to hear that you weren’t able to work up the nerve over the weekend, though! Come on, you can do this! *hands you virtual cookies* I BELIEVE IN YOU. 😉

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    • Topaz, you don’t know how relieved I am at what you wrote. I can see that you understand exactly how I’m feeling. I know that this character is fictitious but he seems so real in my head. I can sympathize with you crying over the first death, but to have to go through it all again… It must be even harder second time round. By the way, my character is still alive, but I have until midnight tonight (Dublin time) to do something about that. I had to set myself a ‘deadline’. 😦 Let’s hope I keep it.

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  3. Here’s an update to this post. At two minutes past midnight on the 23/09/2014 (Irish time) one of my favourite characters passed away. I held out until the last possible minute before writing this one out of the story. It’s done now and I’m in desperate need of a coffee.

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  4. Jack Flacco says:

    Sad times when we have to kill someone who we’ve come to know almost better than ourselves.

    Like

  5. My friends all think I’m crazy, fretting over a fictitious character. In the end I avoided the actual death scene by describing the discovery of the body instead. Cop out, I know. 😦

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