This week the question is: – How do you feel about the death of fictional characters? These can be your own or those of other authors. How would you do it? Do you have a criteria for who can die? Would you ever kill off a named character?

Many moons ago when I started out on my first novel, The Porn Detective, I sent it off to an agent who told me I must never kill off any characters because they each have their own journey and must arrive at the end of the story along with all the others.

Ah; there our paths diverged, because I had already killed off Martin.  The agent told me to re-write it and send it back to her when I had done so.  That was 3 years ago, and only now am I putting into practise everything I’ve learned over the last few years and starting to re-write it.  I’ve unpublished the original version and have written 10,000 words of the new one so far.  Martin is still alive and kicking much to Frances’ disgust, and this third re-write (the second one was to please an agent who didn’t want it in the first person) will be totally different to the others. In fact if anybody had read the first edition and then reads this, they might not think it’s the same book.

Of course, there is a place for the killing of characters in crime novels; in fact the reader probably expects one or two corpses to crop up during the story.  However, The Porn Detective is not a crime novel, and I have to admit that the agent was correct in that Martin shouldn’t have been bumped off.  I think that readers probably would want to find out if and how Martin and Frances resolve their issues, and killing off one of the main characters is not the way to do it.  I’ve soaked up a lot of advice since I started out, and this time around I think The Porn Detective is going to be all the better for it.

Also when I started out I undoubtedly rushed the ending in order to send it off to agents.  Now that I’ve written quite a few books I’m not in any hurry.  In fact I think this latest re-write is going to take the rest of next year to do, especially as I want to incorporate my trip to ‘Nawlins’ in February into the novel.  As far as I’m concerned, bumping off any future characters who have not committed any crimes is not going to be the way forward for me.

Do you kill off any of your characters?  What do you think about authors who do this?  Click on the blue button below to find out.

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