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Everyone has a strong opinion about killing off characters, and I’m no exception. I think that if done right, killing of a character can increase the stakes and add to the realism of a story.

In a war or a struggle if no one ever dies I think that the risk is lost. If I know everyone is always going to be okay, than it isn’t nearly as exciting. I like when they die on stage, so to speak, when it is mentioned afterwards it doesn’t have the same impact.

A death has to fit the tone of the rest of the book. It can come as a surprise, but it should still fit the mood of the story. When someone dies it should be important to the plot and change things, so there’s a reason behind the death. The main character has to be affected, so that the death affects the readers. If the reader doesn’t care what happens to the characters than I’m doing my job.

Some people think that for it to be happily ever after no one can die, but I disagree, look at how many characters die in Disney movies.

Death can’t be undone, or shouldn’t be, unless it is a book about the undead, so be certain before deciding to kill a character. They have to die for a reason, which is true to the character and the rest of the story. Don’t kill for the sake of having a character die for shock value or to prove a point, like war is bad.

Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Game of Thrones, lots of big name authors are killing off characters, but that doesn’t mean that we should follow suit. Every author is different and should do what they think is best for their story. That’s the great part about being the writer. We get to decide who lives and who dies.

What is you think about authors killing off their characters? Have you killed anyone? (In your writing, of course)