All About Character Death

As you can probably guess from the title, this writing guide will be about character deaths; why they are so important to have and when you should be using them. I will also give you guys (or gals) some different methods on how to actually kill them so you can keep things interesting. But before we get into all that juicy stuff, it’s time for a quick warning.

Killing off characters is not mandatory. I know a lot of authors are doing it lately, but just because so many people are doing it, doesn’t mean that you need to do it. It won’t make you any less of a writer if all of your characters survive to the end of the book.

However, if your book takes place during a war or some other setting where a lot of people tend to die, you might want to reconsider that. It is not logical if everyone survives during a virus outbreak or if all your soldiers make it out of the warzone. It might even turn people off from reading any of your other works.

Anyways, now that the warning is taken care of, let’s dig into the main part of this post.

Why is it so important to kill a character?

1. Plot Development

Depending on the genre you’re writing for, you may have to kill off a character or two in order to keep the plot moving smoothly. For example, if you were writing a story with an assassin as the MC, you’ll clearly need to do some character deaths, because it is your MC’s job to kill people. That’s kind of self-explanatory, right?

You could also have a character go on a “suicide mission” for the greater good. Like, if there was an issue with the spaceship and people needed to get back to Earth asap, this character could go out into space with a broken helmet, patch things up, and well… die a hero.

2. Character Development

There’s an infamous quote that I see almost everywhere I go that fits nicely in this section.

“Pain changes people.”

If you want to significantly change your MC and their lifestyle, just kill someone close to them. Take away their family, their best friend, their dog, their cat, their fish, etc. etc.

It’s only when you push your characters to the limit that true growth takes place. Plus, if you want to influence your character to do a certain thing, death can be one of the greatest motivators. (Relationships are another great motivator, too.)

Example: Your MC and your MC’s best friend live in a dangerous city with dreams of moving to another city one day even if it’s impossible. One day, the best friend is brutally murdered for trying to run away from home and from that day forward, the MC is motivated to do anything to leave the city to fulfill their fallen friend’s last wishes.

3. Setting + Realism

Think war. Not everyone will survive in a war. So, if your environment is fatal enough, you need a few casualties. That’s all. (This mainly depends on the genre of your book btw.)

Basically, this last reason is all about making sure the logic adds up. If you release a fatal virus in a highly populated city and no one is dying, you did something wrong.

But if you’re writing a lighthearted and sweet teen fiction, death should be minimal. I mean, if you had a ton of deaths and your story is meant to be just a romance, well… I am not sure what to say to you unless you have another subgenre going on in the background.

– – –

Just for fun, here are some extra resources to give you ideas on how you can actually kill those characters because just shooting them all with a gun gets boring really fast.

400 Dumb Ways to Die

50 Ways to Kill a Character

50 Ways to Murder Your Fictional Characters

How to make a character’s death sadder

Have fun exploring them all!

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How do I start writing?

I’m sure we’ve all been there at one point or another. You either want to start writing or you’re new to writing. At first, you may have been so excited but now, you have no idea where you want to go. You’re on the verge of giving up or maybe you’ve already given up. Well, first of all, I’d like to assure you that you’re not alone. Second of all, there is a solution.

Simply put: write more.

But what do I even write about?

Write about anything that comes to mind. Write about your day. Carry around a notepad with you and write down your observations. Watch people. Watch movies. Watch TV, even. Look at how people interact around you. Let your mind wander. Explore different possibilities. Cherish your imagination. These are all essential keys to becoming a better writer.

Reading also helps too. You’ll be exposed to new words and as a result, your toolbox, with which to write with, will be increased greatly. There is just so much to learn about the world around you. Even I’m still learning. After seeing all this world has to offer, how could you not feel motivated to pour your heart and soul into a story and write it? I’m not really sure what else to say on this matter.

Wait, there is one more thing. As you continue the writing journey, make sure you create connections with people you can trust to help, specifically with critics and editors. They will help you a lot. Book clubs also help, but that’s debatable.

Just try to consult as many people as possible about your book as you can. You’ll experience much greater success than if you venture on alone. Friends also help for a support group, too. Every writer knows the pain of jealousy and comparing their work to others. It can be a pitiful way to lose motivation. Now then, get inspired and go write!

Writer’s Block

So, you think you have writer’s block. You’ve been staring at your blank screen or blank sheet of paper for the last hour and you can’t seem to come up with anything good. You start to think that you’ll never be able to start the new chapter or even start the new book. You have no idea what to do and you’re feeling hopeless. Well, look no further. I have a little helpful guide to free you from that awful hole known as writer’s block.

Step One) Identify the problem. Are you having issues with describing the scene or coming up with it? If you’re stuck with what comes next, think of what happened before. Or better yet, go back to your previous chapters, if you have any, and follow the train of the story. That should get your mind thinking about the book again and sparks will start to generate again.

If you don’t know how to describe the scene, just write it in whatever way you can. “But I want it to be perfect.” It’s easier to write first and edit later than to be extremely picky whilst writing. Plus, isn’t it comforting to actually have words down instead of staring at nothing?

Step Two) If that didn’t work, your problem may be due to a lack of planning. You’ll need to review your plot and see if there are any major plot-holes preventing you from moving forward. Also, analyze your characters. Could they benefit from more development? (The answer is always yes. You can never have too much character development.)

Step Three) Get an outside point of view. You’ve tried everything and it’s still not working. This is known as the last resort. Find a good friend or someone you trust and ask them what they think of your story. These questions will be good to ask:

“What do you think of the plot so far?”

“Do my characters seem well-developed?”

“Is there anything you’d want to see more of in the future?”

Hopefully, something in there helped. If not, I’m not sure what else I can recommend other than taking a break from your story and coming back to it later with a fresh mind. It might also help if you think about your characters before you fall asleep and if you end up dreaming about them, keep a notepad near your bed in order to jot down those ideas. Anyways, I wish you all the best of luck in your writing journey. I’m sure you’ll do great.

The Welcome Post

Hello there, and welcome to my own little corner of the internet.

You may call me Lumi or L. Either of them is okay with me.

On this blog, I plan to make a lot of writing-related posts, such as talking about my books or just sharing some writing tips for new and beginning writers out there.

I wouldn’t really call myself an expert, but I’ve had a lot of practice with writing, so I might be able to teach you guys (or gals) a thing or two about the written word.

Hopefully, you’ll also enjoy your time here, too.

That’s all for today!

~ Lumi