K is for Kill Your Darlings (figuratively, of course) #atozchallenge

Day 11 of the Blogging from A to Z April challenge. Today’s topic: Kill your darlings.

The general consensus in writing seems to be, “Kill your darlings.”  It’s meant as being able to chop out big parts of the story that aren’t working, even though you may love the prose.

I’m a bit more literal than that.

I’ve had nine flash fiction stories published, and in four of them, someone dies.  In one, “Bardo Bureaucracy,” everyone obviously is dead. In the novel I’m shining right now, a major character dies.  In the novel I’m still writing, three characters die in the first section.

And it’s rarely a bad guy who’s offed (although I don’t really have bad guys; I try to nuance my characters so that everyone is both good and bad).

Macabre, depressing, or maybe just downright sadistic – call me what you will, but the deaths fit the stories.  They’re not pointless; they help the other characters grow.

If you write, do you frequently kill off characters?  If you read, how do you feel about authors killing off major characters?


  1. I’ve never killed off a character and don’t think I ever could! I just don’t have it in me. Don’t want to think about all that, I guess! 🙂 I’ll just have all my characters sink into their misery instead….

  2. Since I’m currently writing mysteries, yup… gotta kill someone! I’m trying to visit all the A-Z Challenge Blogs this month.

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