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Calling All Readers Who Are Okay With Character Deaths!

There are a ton of memes about authors killing characters, and how much it hurts the reader. I get it. I, too, have been in the position of a racing heart as the ramp up to the inevitable death has me on the edge of my seat. Then it happens, your favorite character dies and you cry out in pain, anger, and the unfairness of it all. We’re overly attached to, and it feels like our hearts are being ripped out of our chests when we read their deaths. That’s why this meme makes me chuckle.

However Much Vodka

As much as it hurts the reader, I promise it hurts the author, and likely more.

You’re probably thinking, pfft, yeah, okay, sure.

It’s true. If I had it my way, I would let all my characters live in a land of happily ever after where everything goes their way. How could I not want the best for my characters? I’ve taken the hours to craft these characters, to make them seem real, and to make them relatable. Killing them off is not my idea of a good time. Unfortunately, (you knew that was coming didn’t you?) just like real life is messy, so are the lives of characters. Fun fact: that’s what makes them relatable.

Honestly, as much as it hurts, the demise of a character is important. That might seem crazy, but hear me out. All of us will experience or have experienced the difficulties characters in books do. This includes the death of those we love. Sure, as readers, the point is to get away, but any author will tell you there need to be points of reference for the things happening in the book to seem plausible. Absolutely. We all want to live in a world that’s perfect and no one ever dies. That would be supreme, but we lost out on that deal when Adam and Eve sinned.

In my second book (spoilers!) one of my secondary characters dies. I’ll be completely transparent. It hurt. The words physically hurt to write. As his creator, I love him dearly, but I did it because his sacrifice made sense in the scene written. I will miss him and his companions will miss him. However, his legacy will live on in the hearts of the other characters that survive because of his actions.

Honestly, I wanted to pour myself a stiff drink on the day I detailed the scene during editing. Even in my first draft, it was gut wrenching to see him leave the cast. Maybe I should make a commemorative pin to preserve his memory. Too much? Probably.

So, the next time you get mad or even hurt by an author killing a character, I encourage you to take the time to take a step back and see the overall picture. An author does not kill a beloved character without purpose. Death, at least in stories, gives way to something better. Always look for the something better.



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