Have you ever had difficulty killing off a favorite character in your story?

No. For me, story is sovereign. Everything must serve the story, and if the death of a favorite character will serve the story, then that’s the way it has to be. To be honest, though, I haven’t yet killed off a favorite character. The ones I have killed were created to be killed, and I took great glee in doing so. Mostly, I’m not one for being selective in my killings. In A Spark of Heavenly Fire, I decimate Colorado. (I am using the word in its proper context here — I kill off a tenth of the population.) In Light Bringer, I hint at the destruction of vast numbers of people, and in my current work (that isn’t progressing very rapidly) I do, in fact, kill off almost the entire population of the world. After all that carnage, what’s one more character killed off, favorite or not?

Here are some responses from others authors about difficulty of killing off a favorite character. The comments are taken from interviews posted at Pat Bertram Introduces . . .

From an interview with Dellani Oakes, Author of Lone Wolf

I greatly dislike killing a character and avoid it if I can. However, there are times when a character must die to advance the plot. The one who upset me the most was a guy named Murdock Pickford. He’s in a prequel to my sci-fi series. Murdock is a nice guy. He’s kind, capable, loving and forgiving. He’s engaged to a woman who’s pregnant with another man’s baby & he agrees to raise her as his own. He’s thrilled about the baby, excited about getting married—and he has to die, horribly, brutally, for the book to move forward. I’m not ashamed to admit that I cried when I had to kill him off.

From an interview with Jocelyn Modo, Author of “Revolution Lovers”

In Revolution Lovers something truly horrible happens to Adie…I’ve avoided that scene since I wrote it. I can’t look at what I did to her, don’t want to face what I did to my beloved character. I feel silly saying it, but I feel guilty about hurting her.

From an interview with Rod Marsden, Author of “Disco Evil” and “Ghost Dance”

When you deal with the supernatural killing off a characters doesn’t mean they won’t return. I have had characters return a number of times after death to either help or hinder the living.

From an interview with Christine Lindsay, Author of “Shadowed in Silk”

I have to laugh at this as it may sound horribly brutal. But I have no problem killing my characters off at all.  In all of my books I kill off at least one secondary character, sometimes more as is the case of Shadowed in Silk.

I love having my strongest Christians die. I often cry as I write the scenes where they are ready to meet their Lord. And sometimes bad characters have to die too. I try hard not to think of their eternal situation, and remind myself that they are fictional characters — not flesh and blood — and I am not God.

What about you? Have you ever had difficulty killing off a favorite character in your story?

(If you’d like me to interview you, please check out my author questionnaire http://patbertram.wordpress.com/author-questionnaire/ and follow the instruction.)

One Response to “Have you ever had difficulty killing off a favorite character in your story?”

  1. Deborah Owen Says:

    As a novice (and a stupid one, at that), I started off by writing a book. Long story short, I didn’t know how to control the plot line or my characters so you could well liken me to a stagecoach driver with two broken arms, trying to hang onto the reins of runaway horses. And run, they did. Before I knew it, I was in a situation where I had to kill Melissa, a beautiful seven-year old with blonde hair and sky blue eyes that charmed every living soul. When I realized I had to kill her, I put the book away and didn’t touch it for ten years. Ten years later, a little wiser, I picked it up again, killed her promptly and finished the book. Not that’s it’s even close to publishable, mind you, but it was a turning point in my career. I’ve never been the same since. Now I know what will happen to my characters before I write and am thus prepared to bid them adieu… but I’ll never forget Melissa. I still love her.

Please leave a comment. I'd love to hear what you have to say.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: