Tuesday, April 11

Killing Off Characters



I’m a romance author, so killing off characters is really outside my comfort zone. Oh, I’ve done it. Remember Charlie Miles, Julie Miles’s late husband in Sex and the Widow Miles? Charlie had to go if Julie was going to have a story and Julie was crying out for a story, so Charlie’s heart blew out and Julie’s story started a year later. In The Summer of Second Chances, I seriously considered knocking off Dale—Sophie Russo’s mother’s wicked boyfriend, but that wasn’t necessary. The story ended just fine when he went to jail for being a thug, and Henry and Sophie lived happily ever after. So did her mom, Eva.

But in my current work-in-progress, I’m going to have to off a bad guy, and I’m trying to decide the best way to accomplish that. In Saving Sarah, the heroine’s abusive ex-husband has gotten out of jail and is trying to track her down. I’m getting to the point in the story where the two of them are going to have their “dark moment.” He has to die or her happily-ever-after ain’t ever gonna happen, but here’s the catch. Evil as the guy is and as much as Sarah might like to be the one who puts a bullet through her ex’s heart, she can’t do it. Well, I can’t let her do it—she’d have to live with that for the rest of her life and it would be on her soul forever. 

Same for our hero—Tony—he can’t do the deed either, even though he’s a deputy sheriff and we’d all have no problem with him shooting the wicked ex. I can’t let Tony save Sarah that way—Sarah has to save Sarah, although Tony can certainly be there to cheer her on and support her. But if he knocks off the ex, then that’s there in his relationship with Sarah forever. Make sense?

So . . . I’m debating—heart attack or car wreck? Whatever happens to the creep, it has to be a result of his own fit of rage—his own inability to control himself. So running a Stop sign and getting hit by a semi makes sense. A heart attack or stroke because his blood pressure is out of bounds might be a good way to go, or speeding and driving into a tree or the bay works too. I’m thinking . . . I’ll keep you posted.

The Tuesday Question is for writers—have you ever killed off a character? How’d you do it?

13 comments:

  1. I've lost a few, as you know--although not violently that I remember. They've been people I cared about, for the most part, and it's not something that gets easier. In one instance, which you'll guess, I wrote another ending just for my own pleasure. It'll come to you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the vote of confidence, Liz!!

      Delete
  2. I was going to kill someone off in my first Slippery Rock book but...other characters had other ideas and that didn't happen. And now that character is the hero in book 3, so...I know, I'm no help at all. If it helps, I vote for the bad guy to get hit by a semi! :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, the semi is starting to look pretty attractive to me, too, Kristi!

      Delete
  3. In my current WIP I kill off the husband of the heroine. This is necessary because her life has been just perfect and never strayed from her plan for her life. Losing her husband between chapters 1 and 2 of the book will take her off the rails of her perfectly planned life. It also opens the door for to meet the next love of her life (not without lots of drama in the process).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anxious to hear this story, Carolyn! Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  4. I kill off lots of characters. It's fun! ;-) What about a twist with Karma? During a confrontation, Sarah ducks to miss his swing aimed at her head which knocks him off balance, he tumbles into something sharp which sends him to the hospital yowling like a wounded cat where he bleeds out before they can save him (but not before they cut him open before the numbing meds kick in)... Sara is involved, but not directly, Tony drives him to the hospital so remains the hero, but we still get to see the bad guy suffer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love this! Totally thinking outside the box, Ava and it works.

      Delete
    2. I do love how your mind works, Ava! Hugs!! Hope the cruise was a blast!

      Delete
  5. The second book I finished writing was a psychological thriller--before that was even a term-and it began with a car accident that renders the MC barren. After her marriage fails, she decides to get even with the drunk driver. She seduces a younger man to basically become her hitman.

    When I wrote the scraps before buckling down and writing it in order, I'd always meant to kill him in the end. But, I fell in love with my snarky man-boy and couldn't do it.

    It's such a dated script, but if I ever were to go back and redo it, I think he'd have to die to complete the circle of lies.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That sounds intriguing, Margie!

      Delete
  6. I haven't killed off anyone in my published books, although deaths that happened before the first chapter sometimes weigh heavily on the characters. I'm not a big fan of killing off people I like--villains, that's another thing. But never say never!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I like the idea of the bad guy getting killed off because of his own evil self. I like Ava's idea, and I like the idea of a semi getting him. Either one works. Just be sure he dies because of something he did. If a semi gets him, have him get hit because he ran a red light chasing Sarah.

    ReplyDelete