Death scenes are the hardest for me to write because I am crying so hard that I have to stop and weep.

All my stories start with characters, so once I have the characters right, I have their desire or motivation. Once I have the motivation, I have the journey and its opposition, the escalating tension of unmet desire, the plot. This makes it easy for me to write scenes, but my emotions take over when I have to kill them – or they die naturally.

I know, in Chapter One, who is going to die, yet when it comes time to writing the death scene I am an emotional wreck. I like my characters. I have built a repour with them but sometimes even the good person has to die.

Knowing who is to die, and when, is important but it is the preliminary work or the setting of the scene that makes it powerful.

Write convincing death scenes:

  1. emphasize the qualities of the dying character
  2. make it unexpected – a surprise death
  3. show compassion
  4. indicate how the death affects others
  5. might occur from a terminal illness
  6. include a deathbed visitation

Create empathy?

  • The character is nice, good, likeable and does not deserve to die.
  • The character might be outright terrible and must die.
  • The other characters’ reaction to the death is relatable to the reader.
  • The reader feels sorry for the character.

Deaths need to have reason, add value to the story, but not all deaths have to mean something to every character. Nor do all deaths need to make the reader emotional and not all deaths impact the main characters. But they must have purpose.

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“Linda has published sixteen books. She blogs about the publishing world, posts useful tips on the challenges a writer faces, including marketing and promoting your work, how to build your online platform, how to get reviews and how to self-publish. She has mentored many authors and edited their work.” 

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