On writing

Author, I can’t take it any more


KillingOffCharactersDear Author

I love your books.  You are a great writer, and you have a book coming out soon. It’s part of a series I love.

Except … I’m not going to read it.

I know. I know.  But you kill off too many of my favourite characters.

You even admit that you do it to wring emotion out of your readers.

But I’m over it. The last three books of yours I haven’t enjoyed. Instead of reading the story, I’ve been waiting for someone to die. Last book, I read the end first, to find out who you killed off this time. If the two characters you killed had been favourites of mine, I wouldn’t have read the book.

I know people die in real life, but books aren’t real life, and I read to escape, not get dragged through the emotional wringer every single time.

I know we’ve killed characters in our own books. But mostly we kill them early, and you don’t get to love them for a hundred thousand words—or in your case, over several hundred thousand words—before we bump them off.

Besides, I don’t mind the occasional death. Well, I do, but I accept that’s fictional life. And I cry buckets when it happens. But you create big books with ensemble casts, who I grow to love over the series (those who survive the first couple of books, anyway). Then you kill them off, one (or more) in each book.  If you didn’t keep adding new people, you’d have run out of characters by now.

So I wish you all the best for the new release. But I’ll be over here in the other corner, reading a book that takes me away from the crazy world we live in for a while. Something that makes me feel better after I’ve finished. Not worse.



p.s. Did you know there’s a WikiHow article on getting over the death of a fictional character?

7 replies on “Author, I can’t take it any more”

I agree, a death can be a great plot device and really drive a story arc forward but sometimes it can be a bit like “there goes another one”. I’m never happy when a character who has been with me through a series gets the chop but as one point says people do die (just not too often in books please).

In fact I was quite upset when the crew of the Kari Wang died, even from those few pages there were people I thought “I like you” and “You’ll be good to read”. But I got over it to carry on to the end :o)

Interestingly, we got to like Kari Wang’s original crew more as we wrote them, too. Initially it was ‘we knew they were dead already’ but by the time we had finished it had changed to ‘we really wish her crew hadn’t had to die’.

Ditto, reading is my escapism and de-stresser. you can forgive and go one when it progresses the book, but to kill people off just because you can, i do not bother with. It is also the same reason why i do not read book series that have generational arcs, even if the character dies of old age, i ultimately want a HEA

And that’s why I really stopped reading one series. It was getting a bit ridiculous death-wise.

(but if I thought I could get my hands on Confluence earlier by flying to Australia, I totally would! lol!)

Leave a Reply to Jenn Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *