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Does anyone else feel bad When they have to Kill off their Characters?


I feel saddest when getting to the end of a first draft that I've really enjoyed.

I still have the editing process, but I "live in the story" as it's reaching its crescendo and it's quite painful when it's over.

It's like I've been dumped.
I actually figured out a neat trick for avoiding that I call them "secret stories" their prequels or little branch off adventures or stories, they arent meant to be published I use them to formulate how my characters think or their backstory as well. This or just generally do things like this so that I dont ever really disconnect from the world.
Maybe. We're all different after all.

You can only ever write a first draft once and for me it's an intense experience - especially the last few chapters. I truly dread that last full stop.

I have not killed off any of my main characters, but I've killed many minor characters who were inspired by people that I'm not fond of lol, so no problems!


I haven't killed off any characters before, I'm working on my first project, but in my worldbuilding notes I have implied that some important figures have died in a war. Maybe because I haven't written about the war yet, as it occurs before the actual story, or because I haven't grown a connection to characters that only exist in notes I guess I haven't had a problem.

But I am dealing with the trouble of fabricating death for characters who I really like so far. Im in the early stages of the first draft: 1st/2nd chapter but Im introducing personalities who I love and tell myself "I might cry when you die". I'm trying to remove myself from emotional attachment to any of the characters because I don't want that to impede on the story or arcs.

Feeling sad or empathy for characters who you had to kill off should be an honor, it shows that they were worth an emotional investment. And whether or not its a secret or public work, those characters enrich the story.

Insolent Lad

I've never knocked off a Main Protagonist but important secondary characters have bitten the dust with some frequency. And yes, I generally have enough invested in them that I feel bad about doing it. Even if it was planned a couple books back. I suppose if I feel bad then so does the MP, which is the point (or if he doesn't, that's a different point). Sidekicks have gone. Spouses and parents have gone. Characters need a least some tragedy and sorrow in their lives to grow. So I do kill some off, even if I don't like doing it. They can't all live happily ever after.

But there are also villains to whom I've grow attached. Most I was willing enough to kill (though I might miss them as a useful element in the story) but a few become tragic figures, flawed rather than evil. Kill them or redeem them? Or both? It can be a difficult choice and I have gone various ways with it. Anyone we put effort into making a true three-dimensional believable human (or non-human for that matter) character is going to become a person to us, someone we 'know' and will regret losing.

The demon Qu'orthseth (known familiarly as Cory) is playing the sidekick role in my WIP. I know he will be killed off about a thousand years later, having become a much better sort than the amoral being he is now. How do I know? That book has been written and published. That makes the writing of his character now a bit more poignant, perhaps. Remembering the unselfish way he went informs that writing of him.
I'm not that far into my current project but my plan is to have fairly defined characters and an outline of events, then see if anyone should realistically get killed at any point. Maybe create decoys to kill off instead of my main 6 and then develop them equally so it doesn't look like I cheated xD


Killing of characters is rather normal for me. Plot armor is paper thin and even gods get the axe on occasion. Can't feel too bad because it opens slots for new lovable characters. Death is one of the nicer things I have done to characters so it's more like a mercy killing at times.

Character is never really dead as prequels about the character is a thing. Being brought back to life after their death, but before the event.


Kind of random but I'm curious. Does anyone else have problems with killing off their characters? Because I literally fall in love with my characters even when I know that some of them have to die and I end up not wanting to kill them. Especially the villians. I've literally cried my eyes out killing characters and I feel really bad about it. Does anyone else have problems with that or is it just me?
I think it’s a testament to your passion for your work that makes you feel like that. But ... reality is a hard place and even though stories are fantasy, the people and situations and dilemmas they face are real. If not, the story can lose its core strength - the grab the reader. There had to be an element of jeopardy and peril.
I have mixed emotions depending on the character.


Not really. I have killed off quite a number of my characters. There were only a select few that were kinda hard to do, but it was necessary for the plot and/character development.


Fiery Keeper of the Hat
Bad...? Well, I’ve written scenes that have made me cry, to the point where thinking of them will let me cry on queue. But it’s not a bad feeling. It’s almost kind of exciting and peaceful. It’s got to feel right.


I am with Devor. Not bad, it’s just intense. I killed a recent main character unexpectedly while writing the ending of a story (as in unexpectedly for me). It fit the plot and the feel of the ending, so I went with it when the words went that way. it was pretty intense to write, which hopefully comes out in the reading!
I think killing main or important characters is like anything else in writing: if it works, it works and go with it. But you can’t force something like that if the plot won’t carry it.
After I killed off main characters, I am kind of emotional. It is natural to feel terrible after all you, the writer is investing your time on building a well-rounded characters.
However, I have to delicate to logical of possibilities. I feel if I allow myself to play favoritism. It will result on irralogical plots.