Killing Your Characters

By Anisa A. Claire. 

I love the series, A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R. R. Martin.  It’s up there as one of my top choices for books.  The reason I love it so much is because it’s totally unpredictable.  I never know which characters are safe.  With every turn of the page, I know that the potential of the very character I am becoming attached to could meet a sudden end.  It makes the read nerve-racking and exciting all in the same breath because you just never know what’s coming.

murder-knife-horror-stab-bloody-blood-crime2-e1409777552958Other books are a lot more predictable when it comes to plot.  You know that the author won’t kill of a main character or a character that people have come to love because they would never bend the rules like that.  Now, that’s not to say that all characters need to die for an exciting read, or that there haven’t been some amazing stories that have come from the ‘safe’ format.  There are a lot of wonderful stories that don’t involve the deaths of their characters. Sometimes, though, it can make for a fairly ‘typical’ read.

My question is this… How many of you are able to kill your characters?  Because I can almost NEVER kill mine off.  I go into my write thinking ‘Okay, Anisa, you’re killing a character in this story.  You’re going to do it and it’s going to add a surprise element to your story.’  Then when the time actually comes, I almost NEVER am able to actually do it.  My conversation ends up going ‘Okay, Anisa, pull it together.  You can kill your character. Just do it. Don’t think about it.  It’ll be better in the end. Nope. Can’t do it.  Maybe next chapter.’ This back and forth goes on through the whole write and at the end I have a cast full of very alive, very safe characters. Arg!  I just can’t pull the trigger.

How does George R. R. Martin do it? How can he savagely just eliminate his beloved characters?  How, if you’re able, do you do it?  I can’t wait to see where this conversation goes!


One thought on “Killing Your Characters

  1. hey anisa, i love this post. george rr martin’s writing got me thinking about killing characters too! the only thing is that i read somewhere that you should kill your characters for a purpose beyond shock and awe, that’s added a level of difficulty for me. in my sci fi novel i kill off a major supporting character. in my spec fic i kill off everyone but my two main protags (i actually kill one of them too, but there’s a resurrection element there that negates it).

    great post!!

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