Welcome to the fourth in my series of mini tips videos and blogs all about side characters. There are just four days left until the launch of 8 Steps to Side Characters. Today’s mini tip is all about killing your darling. Specifically, the biggest mistake most writers make when trying to kill your side character. Now, you’ll understand how to kill your side characters properly.
Need to kill a darling? I often see a basic mistake with side character deaths—and that’s not having a consequence to the death.
The two main types of consequence are:
- Plot driven
It actually doesn’t matter which consequence you choose, so long as you do choose one. When you kill a side character, the result must do something in your story. Maybe everyone is sad, maybe it motivates characters, maybe it creates a problem because that character was the only one who knew where an important key was that unlocked the room which held the villain killing sword. Doesn’t matter. But a character death should be making something better, making it worse or complicating matters.
Note that the consequence needs to be proportional to the side character’s importance. If they’re a bit part or cameo, the consequence doesn’t need to be big. Perhaps just a one sentence reflection. If, however, they’re a major character then there should be a big reaction and consequence to that death.
If you’d like to learn about when you should and shouldn’t kill your characters, or perhaps the different types of character death, then you can by pre-ordering 8 Steps to Side Characters.
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