Killing the protagonist – should it be done?

Asked by: Jahan Luperon

There’s a reason why very few authors kill their main characters—it’s hard and sometimes impossible to do. Don’t do it just to do it. If it’s a central part of the story, or helps the character escape a worse fate, then go for it, but make sure everything that happens to the character leads to their ultimate demise.

Should you kill your protagonist?

If you have a character that has served their purpose within the story, killing them off can be a natural — but strong — way to offer closure to their story. If you have a protagonist that has made major sacrifices for the greater good, sometimes the best closure to their story is the ultimate sacrifice.

When should you not kill a character?

6 Times You Shouldn’t Kill Your Characters

  • Their Death Serves No Purpose. Few people enjoy pointless death. …
  • They’re Not Going to Stay Dead. …
  • They’re An Insignificant Character. …
  • The Character is LGBTQIA+ …
  • The Character is a Person of Colour. …
  • The Character is Female.

When should you kill a character?

Just make sure you can justify the death. Killing off a well-liked character without reason will make your readers angry. And no one wants angry readers. If they absolutely must be sent off, have them reveal important plot information, or at the very least make them seem dignified and noble in their death.

Can you end a story with the main character dying?

There’s a fine line between a meaningful ending and ticking off your readers. Your reader has invested emotionally in your main character, so make sure it’s important or relevant that he/she be killed off—and preferably not death by paper cut.

Why do authors kill off main characters?

It advances the plot; it fulfils the doomed character’s personal goal; it motivates other characters; it’s a fitting recompense for the character’s actions; it emphasises the theme; and it creates realism within the story world (which certainly applies to Westeros, where the average lifespan must be very short).

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What is it called when the main character dies?

The killing off of a character is a device in fiction, whereby a character dies, but the story continues. The term, frequently applied to television, film, video game, anime, manga and chronological series, often denotes an untimely or unexpected death motivated by factors beyond the storyline.

What happens when a protagonist dies?

A story that casts death as permanent and final, ends with the death of the protagonist. All that can come after it is an epilogue. Certainly you don’t have to narrate the story chronologically, and there are novels that begin with the protagonist’s death and are all flashbacks, but the story still ends with his death.

How do you end a story with a death?

The best way to make the most out of a death scene is by allowing it to lay its shadows on the plot. Getting the readers invested in death’s outcome is great. However, getting the other characters invested gives you the most meaningful death scene. An effective death scene can add extra layers of depth to your plot.

How do you end a cliffhanger?

4 Tips for Writing Cliffhangers from Dan Brown

  1. Move the last few paragraphs of a scene to the next chapter.
  2. Create a section break between your work.
  3. Introduce a new surprise that the audience will not expect.
  4. Use pulses, or short sentences or phrases to remind the reader of lurking danger.

Are cliffhangers good?

The Pros of Cliffhangers

Cliffhangers bring the reader back for more. Cliffhangers get the reader’s attention and doesn’t let it go. After all, they are hanging on to that root and need to find a way out of their predicament. Cliffhangers also bring out emotional reactions which is good.

Why do authors leave cliffhangers?

Writers use cliffhangers as a literary device at the end of scenes, chapters, and books. These end without the questions raised being resolved. The reader has to carry on reading to find out what happens.

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Why are cliffhangers effective?

They’re no substitute for vivid character development and a compelling overall story, but they do complement those features of your writing. Cliffhangers build suspense and convey a sense of urgency, reinforcing the audience’s investment in the story.

What are some good cliffhangers?

6 Great Cliffhangers That You Should Use in Your Writing

  • A race against time. This type of cliffhanger pits your main character against time. …
  • An unexpected accident. …
  • A choice between two loves. …
  • An unexpected loss. …
  • The unanswered fate of a character. …
  • A sense of foreboding.

How should I end my story?

Here are a few elements that can make for a great ending for your book or story:

  1. The “right” ending. …
  2. The unpredictable element. …
  3. The plot twist. …
  4. The dark moment. …
  5. The emotional epiphany/change. …
  6. The could-have-changed-but-didn’t dead end. …
  7. Comingling happy and sad. …
  8. Leave room for interpretation.

What to do when you are stuck in a book?

Here are twelve of them:

  1. Go back to the beginning. Often a story stalls because you just haven’t given your protagonist enough to do. …
  2. Look at your protagonist’s backstory. …
  3. Throw obstacles in your character’s path. …
  4. Introduce someone new. …
  5. Unsettle your character. …
  6. Jump ahead. …
  7. Consider the weather. …
  8. Don’t forget holidays.

How do I keep my story moving forward?

10 Top Tips For Moving A Plot Forward

  1. Start with a detailed biography of your protagonist and antagonist.
  2. List the changes you’re going to inflict on these two characters.
  3. Start your book when something meaningful happens. …
  4. Never start with backstory.
  5. Create conflict that counts from page one.
  6. Show motivation.

How do you progress a story?

Develop your story in 10 simple steps:

  1. Study effective examples of plot development.
  2. Use a plotting process to shape your story.
  3. Create a timeline of your novel’s plot events.
  4. Make characters develop in intriguing ways.
  5. Make each of the ‘5 W’s’ change.
  6. Outline scenes to create a storyboard.
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How do I make my plot more interesting?

  1. Integrate the plot. No plot exists in isolation. …
  2. Don’t confuse it with action. The plot relies on a consistent line of actions from start to finish. …
  3. Surprise them- but not all of them. …
  4. Stick to the rules. …
  5. DON’T stick to the rules. …
  6. Stick to a theme- and revisit it. …
  7. Make it matter.
  8. How do you know if a plot is good?

    The conflict should get more and more tense or exciting. The tension should reach a high point or “climax” near the end of the story, then ease off. The basic steps of a plot are: conflict begins, things go right, things go WRONG, final victory (or defeat), and wrap‑up. The right–wrong steps can repeat.

    How do I know if my story idea is good?

    Make sure that your story contains a central conflict. Something must happen to turn your character’s life upside down, and through this experience, a change must take place within your character. If your idea does not include a conflict, you’re not quite ready to start writing.

    What makes a scene captivating?

    Opening Scenes should be loaded with character and set up your premise. That’s where you want to slip in important bits of backstory. Middle Scenes carry complications, twists, and raise the stakes. Climactic Scenes should build to a riveting climax, so they might be shorter and packed with action and emotion.

    How long should a scene last?

    between 1.5 and 3 minutes

    In films made after 1961 most scenes run between 1.5 and 3 minutes. The practice reflects the contemporary screenwriter’s rule of thumb that a scene should consume no more than two or three pages (with a page counting as a minute of screen time).

    Does every scene need conflict?

    Every single scene in a novel must contain conflict. And that means you have to put it there. And you have to check your drafts scene by scene to make sure it’s there.