3 Side Effects of Killing-Off a Character I Love
On August 28, 2015 | 0 Comments

This past week I had to come to terms with executing my plan of, well, killing a character. I wasn’t ready for it, but it had to be done. My main character needed to endure a hardship during an already complex existence, especially at a critical time when the stakes were already high. She has demonstrated many times that she possesses the fortitude to see her purpose through, and protect any friend or loved one from the consequences. So when the idea of her losing someone who was like a father figure to her arose, it seemed to be the best and most impacting way to go.

However, I did not expect my own reaction:

  1. I cried as I wrote it. It wasn’t even a scene where there was gore, so I wasn’t wincing at the actions taken against him. There was really no extreme brutality done to the character, which was why his passing was a shock. Technically, given who the character was and all he had endured in his long life, he should have survived with no problem. Yet, this loss served two purposes: 1. It accelerated the moving of a group of characters to where I needed them to go, and 2. It caused my main character to turn to her love interest for support, therefore further growing that relationship.
  2. I mourned for him. I used the characters who knew him best in order to do it. They all processed the loss differently. Some found common ground to process it with another character. My own mourning process was experienced through each character’s processes. I didn’t expect that.
  3. Building this new world became a more sobering experience. I knew moving this group of characters to a new world was going to cost my main character, but I didn’t yet know how it would until the realization of the death of an important character became the answer. This reality registered a few days before I wrote it, and I needed that time to come to terms with it before I made it happen.

As the story line in the book continues to climb with plenty of additional hardships to stack on my main character’s shoulders, a part of me hopes no one else who is viewed as good by my main character dies. However, considering I’m building this story over at least three books, I know that to be an unattainable goal. I have faith in my main character, though, because she’s truly resilient and strong. It shows that a person can be those things, and also allow herself to be vulnerable to accurately express the loss of someone she loved unconditionally. It makes her more human when she’s actually changing from human to something far greater. Overall, this group of characters still has a lot to go through and endure together, but their alliances will grow and change. It’s inevitable.

I just hope I have a box of tissue next to my laptop next time one of them has to die.

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