You are currently viewing KILLING OFF A CHARACTER


In a whodunit, somebody dies. It comes as no surprise and is expected, given the genre. But what of a beloved character such as the hero long established in a series, or a protagonist in any story?

Sometimes, a writer ends the life of a character he or she has become bored or annoyed with. Sometimes, a venerable character simply needs to be retired for lack of new challenges. And sometimes the story demands a sacrifice.

That last may be wrenching for readers and for the writer, too. Tears flow even before the hero or heroine draws that last breath. And the loss may be as traumatic for some as if the character were a real friend or lover. It may seem odd, and perhaps psychologically perilous, to so thoroughly absorb the atmosphere and the story one reads as to experience strong emotion, but for some, the very definition of a good book is one that draws the reader into it to live the tale.

As for this author, to write a story is to live it, no matter how fantastical, bizarre, or far from personal experience. And yes, killing a character can be painful.

Do you become emotionally invested in a story and the lives of those within it?

[Photo courtesy of Andrew Martin/aitoff of]