Should I kill him or keep him around?

Open Book StampWelcome to this week’s Open Book Blog Hop.  This week we’re talking about the death of characters, or more specifically:

How do you feel about the death of fictional characters? These can be your own or those of other authors. How would you do it? Do you have a criteria for who can die? Would you ever kill off a named character?

If it’s pertinent to the story and isn’t for gore or shock value, I think this is a natural part of life and certainly, if done right, acceptable.

Grim reaper on a road
Grim reaper on a road

In Moving to You, I killed off a character.  He was in a situation that wasn’t going to end well for him anyway, and with his death, I felt my heroine, would have a better chance of moving on without this character in the picture.  I didn’t make it gory, and it was done, I hope with a touch of realism and respect.  Now, keep in mind that I write contemporary romance and that worked for me.  If I wrote in a different genre, it would be different.  For instance, paranormal romance.  Characters can die and then come back, or not.

Deceased person covered in a sheet with a blank toe tag.
Deceased person covered in a sheet with a blank toe tag.

Now, for killing off a named character, well, as with the character in Moving to You, he was a named character and very important to my heroine, but I felt like he needed to go.  In the end, he either had to die or go to jail and I couldn’t see sending him to jail.  He had a bad heart anyway, so I just let him go.  It worked and I’ve not had anyone tell me they were mad about that.

How do you feel about this?  Would you kill off a character or if you’re reading a book and a character dies, how do you feel about that?


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12 thoughts on “Should I kill him or keep him around?”

  1. We live and die, so why shouldn’t characters. Of course, some genres’ readers take those deaths better than others.

  2. I’ve had so much flak for killing off characters, that I’m very wary of doing this anymore. But hey, as others say, death is part of life.

  3. I write Victorian Crime fiction, so each novel is based around the premise of a murder. I always kill at least 2 other characters… in sundry and awful ways. Coz it’s fun!.The trick is to know that the character is going to die BEFORE you start, that way you don’t get sentimentally attached to him/her. And always make the death interesting…It can help if you imagine the person to be a known enemy in real life #justsaying

  4. Well how a reader reacts to the death of a character depends on how much they enjoyed reading the character. Ultimatly if it serves the story, then I think it is acceptable and even inevitable that some characters will die.

  5. If it serves the story, then of course it’s okay.
    I have gotten emotionally involved before, when it is a fave character in a long running series. There was one in Robb’s In Death series that really got to me.

  6. Well, you are right; Death is a fact of life…..very emotional; but, we must move on. Will just need more characters to get attached to in another one of your books.

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