Final Crossings: Dealing with Character Deaths

He came through the door with a smile and a sarcastic comment that set me laughing. I watched my characters fall in love with him. I watched him change their world.

Less than a week later, he was dead.

I was at my laptop, locked into the intensity of battle, focused on the story’s goal. I never expected him to be a casualty of that goal. He disappeared from the page in a wisp of smoke and ink, dissolved between my fingers like the figment of imagination he was.

Except. . .he was so much more.

He had become part of me, and with everything in me I wanted to bring him back. Sick at heart, I attempted to rewrite the scene, tried to find some way of bringing him back to life, but the scene refused to adjust.

One of the hardest thing about being a writer is —let’s be honest— losing a character.

[Any character. ALL THE CHARACTERS. *Weeps*]

Sometimes the deaths are unexpected, like the one in my example, but often we create characters simply for them to die. . .and yet still fall in love. Fighting against every reason their death matters because we can’t let them go.

Allow yourself to grieve. Yes, they are were fictional [sniff], but few real life relationships can match our attachments to our characters. They are part of our souls and our thoughts. But you cannot allow yourself to stop writing. Let your grief and shock filter into the remaining characters’ emotions and actions, creating a more gripping, realistic response.

There are more characters awaiting your discovery.

New worlds.

And the only way to begin is by moving forward.

Have you ever killed off a favorite character? How did you cope?

Coming Next Week: Interview with Author Anna Grace Michael

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