Hello there.
My name is Nidoran, and this is my writing blog.

This blog is dedicated to my journey as a writer. I don't have much of a schedule when it comes to posting. Sometimes I write advice, sometimes I post entertaining things, sometimes I share what's been going on with my writing.

Beware of sass in the tags.

Click here to only see TotalRewrite advice.


Submit · About Me · My Writing · Cool Blogs · Tags · Post Schedule

Okay, in order:
Character deaths can be shocking, but they can also exist for shock value. The difference between them being that you don’t see a shocking death coming, but it is still justified and helps to progress the plot. Deaths that occur for shock value might seem shocking, but they don’t provide any of the other necessities.
Examples of shocking (but good) deaths:
A certain lord at the end of GAME OF THRONES
A certain person in LOOKING FOR ALASKA
A dude in THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING
An entire assortment of wizards from HARRY POTTER
(I tried not to make it spoilery for people who haven’t read the books/seen the movies/seen the TV show.)
Some examples of what character deaths can do:
Provide motivation for other characters. (Ex. Characters want revenge for their fallen comrades.)
Cause other events to happen. (Ex. Now that this person is dead, there’s nothing stopping something from happening because they were the only person that could keep it under control.)
Make other characters stop and think about what’s really happening. (Ex. Is what they’re trying to do really worth the death of people they care about?)
Killing off characters can be used effectively to show the stakes of your novel, especially if done well. This is kind of relevant, but a long time ago, I watched an interview with JK Rowling and there was a question about how she chooses which characters die in her books.
I can’t remember her exact answer, and I can’t find the interview to link to, but she said something along the lines of, “The bad guys aren’t going to go only after side characters. They’re going to try to kill the ones who pose the biggest threat—the main characters.” I really like her answer.
But to wrap this up, I think if you put time and thought into your character death and it isn’t just something like, “Holy shit! The evil overlord killed a child whom we’ve never seen before and put their head on a pike outside his castle at a clear attempt to shock and disgust us!” you’re fine.
Okay, in order:

Character deaths can be shocking, but they can also exist for shock value. The difference between them being that you don’t see a shocking death coming, but it is still justified and helps to progress the plot. Deaths that occur for shock value might seem shocking, but they don’t provide any of the other necessities.

Examples of shocking (but good) deaths:

  • A certain lord at the end of GAME OF THRONES
  • A certain person in LOOKING FOR ALASKA
  • A dude in THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING
  • An entire assortment of wizards from HARRY POTTER

(I tried not to make it spoilery for people who haven’t read the books/seen the movies/seen the TV show.)

Some examples of what character deaths can do:

  • Provide motivation for other characters. (Ex. Characters want revenge for their fallen comrades.)
  • Cause other events to happen. (Ex. Now that this person is dead, there’s nothing stopping something from happening because they were the only person that could keep it under control.)
  • Make other characters stop and think about what’s really happening. (Ex. Is what they’re trying to do really worth the death of people they care about?)

Killing off characters can be used effectively to show the stakes of your novel, especially if done well. This is kind of relevant, but a long time ago, I watched an interview with JK Rowling and there was a question about how she chooses which characters die in her books.

I can’t remember her exact answer, and I can’t find the interview to link to, but she said something along the lines of, “The bad guys aren’t going to go only after side characters. They’re going to try to kill the ones who pose the biggest threat—the main characters.” I really like her answer.

But to wrap this up, I think if you put time and thought into your character death and it isn’t just something like, “Holy shit! The evil overlord killed a child whom we’ve never seen before and put their head on a pike outside his castle at a clear attempt to shock and disgust us!” you’re fine.