Reply To: Should you kill a character (This is a lesson-ish)

Forums Fiction Characters Should you kill a character (This is a lesson-ish) Reply To: Should you kill a character (This is a lesson-ish)

Brian Stansell


Hi Kylie,

I do have a few of my characters killed in my WIP.  They are killed by one of the main villains. They are part of the antagonist group, but strangely these henchmen-type characters are kind of endearing, so when this villain kills them, the reader will perhaps feel saddened by their deaths.  There is a degree of empathy that even extends towards the ner-do-wells that shows a good sense of the value of life.  Since these are legitimate experiences in the full range of emotion through which a reader sort of vicariously bonds with a story, I felt it was an authentic way to show the level of warning a reader must take with regard to sympathizing with a villain who has been given over to a reprobate mind (Romans 1:28).  There are some limits that even God places upon compassion for he says I will not always strive with mankind forever (Genesis 6:3), and in some cases, as in  Jeremiah 11:11&14 He gives the command not to even pray for these that willfully vex and quench His Spirit (1 Thes. 5:19).
Sometimes, in our craft, it is necessary to take our readers through the darkness and even let it seem to win some battles because that is authentic to real experiences.  We will not always win every battle, even though God has won the decisive victory in the war over good vs. evil.  Good characters will fall. Bad things will happen.  But there is a way through all of these things, and oddly enough, it is not by becoming powerful ourselves, but by trusting and surrendering our weaknesses to The One who has the power over all Life and Death.
It is hard writing a death scene. One must approach it with tact and a certain degree of reverence for life itself, to be authentic with the construction of this tragic sequence.  If, as I do, you have grown to love the character in some ways, you too will grieve in the writing, as will your readers when they read it.  But that is part of a sober dealing with reality.  Though we write fiction, there has to be some frame of reference with our known realities to make them connect.  I lost my kid brother 3 days before his 5th birthday.  I lost a childhood friend in a tragic school bus wreck on an icy winter road, many years ago.  Loss and grieving are something we unfortunately will all go through at some point. It is okay to grieve the loss of a character too.  It shows that you have an authentic love for life, and that is a precious thing that must be guarded and cherished.
I am glad you are still here (July 23, 2021), thinking about these real & important issues enough to write an entry.  It made me think about them too.  Much appreciated! ❤
Wishing you many blessings.

Brian Stansell (aka O'Brian of the Surface World)
I was born in war.
Fighting from my first breath.

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