I wrote about killing off characters a few weeks ago here. I unashamedly ranted about Veronica Roth and her blatant distasteful murdering (still bitter) of her main character, Tris. I continued to rant about how you shouldn’t flippantly kill off characters and definitely not main characters. But, after some thought I decided to revise my conclusions. Whilst I stand by my point that you shouldn’t casually kill a character that your readers have spent a 1000 pages getting to know and love, I also think that in order to have some credibility you need to kill some characters off.
The lesson I learnt recently is:
Torture is good!
Torturing your characters at any rate. Make them, no, force them to feel emotions, feel something. Push your characters to their limits and see what happens. That’s what makes an interesting read. It gives your characters depth, and makes for an interesting story. If you can’t kill them off, then make it difficult for your characters at every possible turn, take away that tool, instrument or person they need most, make the situation look as though its impossible to come back from, then at the last minute something unique about them means they can save the day (or whatever).
Do it. Just torture them, even if you don’t want to. In fact, if you don’t, thats even more reason why you should do it. Because if you’re afraid to write it, then it must be good!