Killing Your Characters
With The Cerberus Rebellion in the hands of my beta-readers and 3/4 short stories finished, I’ve been working on plotting out the character arcs for my main characters over the rest of the series (right now, 5 more novels).
When I first developed the general idea for where I wanted this series to go, I had a pretty solid idea for how I wanted each character to end up. As the first novel developed, however, my long term goal for person shifted.
My plot, as it stands now, is radically different from what it was. First off, I had to kill an important secondary character in order to nudge one of the main characters down a certain path. As I’ve developed the arcs for the series, I’ve realized that at least one of my POV characters needs to die at some point toward the end of the series to bring closure.
This is really the first time that I’ve considered killing off a main character. In all of my other works, the main character comes through at the end.
I think the catalyst for this change of perspective was reading the Song of Ice and Fire books by George RR Martin. I won’t spoil it further than saying that he doesn’t mind killing off fairly important people.
I think that the multiple POV approach to writing provides the backup necessary to be able to kill off main characters because new ones can slide right into place and the other POV characters can continue the story.
When I initially killed off this secondary character, I went back through and read all of the chapters that he/she were involved in and realized that there wasn’t much to attach the read to him/her. So I went back through and beefed up this characters involvement in the story and the interactions with MC(s).
I haven’t received any feedback yet, but I’m hoping that my re-work of the character provided enough substance to make their death felt.
So what’s your opinion on killing off primary or important secondary characters?