Killing off Characters: How to do it fast

I took my own advice from my last blog to go ahead and kill off one of ELECTED’s characters.  I thought about it for awhile first because you don’t want to kill someone off who will be a major plot piece of a subsequent book.  But after careful consideration, I felt like one of my periphery characters was just fluff.  He did show up in the plot outline for book 2, NEGLECTED, but I sliced him out of there too!

Here’s how I did it fast.  The FIND button in Microsoft Word!  There were about twenty different times during the ELECTED book that this one character’s name, Cole, popped up.  I searched, and in all of those areas, I did rewrites.  Now he’s just a random metal worker, who doesn’t show up in book 2 at all because…not only did I kill him off figuratively in my writing, I also actually had him killed in ELECTED.  He’s now taken away to the prison for starting a Technology Faction riot.  And there’s no mercy for that kind of stuff in East Country!

I think this also makes the ending run more smoothly because now there’s no dialogue wondering what happened to Cole when he escaped to Mid Country.  So the ending can get right to the meat of my story…(another suggestion from my faboulous writer’s circle).

I have to admit, it’s always hard killing off a character you put time into creating, but it feels good!  Kind of like I just reorganized my closet and donated some old clothes to the Salvation Army!

Have you ever killed off one of your characters?  How did it work?  How did you feel?  Inquiring minds want to know!

1 Comment on Killing off Characters: How to do it fast

  • Ethan Queen says:
    December 12, 2012 at 2:10 am

    I had her survive till the very end of the first book. She’s the sister of the secondary main character. Up until that point she was sort of the third main character. At the end, in the final confrontation with the villian she steps in the way of a set of knives to save her brother. She gets stabbed through the stomach and collapses to the floor. Her brother nearly kills the villian for revenge but the actual main character stops him. There’s time for some last words in her brother’s arms and then she slips away. The idea is to make her brother a colder and deadlier character for the second and third book. The kind of character that could turn from a loyal, trustworthy friend to a spiteful villain.


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