K for Killing – #atozchallenge

Ah, killing.

Have you all met my friend Lissa at Quid for Quill yet?  If not, go poke around her blog.  She’s awesome.

Well, Lissa and I know each other in real life (work together, actually, though we were very good friends first :D).

Michelle, Rebekah, Lissa

(I don’t seem to have a good picture of just me and Lissa, and I couldn’t cut Michelle – aka The Barenaked Critic – out! Goodness, we’re HOT!)

We kind of scare people sometimes.

See, we appear to be these very sweet, conservative girls on the outside. Then, suddenly, the fact that we’re writers will come up in a conversation, and inevitably, someone asks us what we write.

Things fall silent as Lissa and I exchange glances and survey our ‘victims’ to see if they can really handle knowing what we write.

Because we write some really dark stuff.  As in people usually die.  In really horrible ways.  Or they go crazy.  And then we have this flip side, where we write the complete opposite of all that – I write Christian devotionals, and Lissa writes children’s poetry.

But we’re not killing people just to kill people in our stories.  Their death is always a vital part of the story, either because it’s the end of the story (or even the beginning), or because of the impact their death will have on the other characters.

The death doesn’t have to be gory, it doesn’t even have to be shown.  It simply needs to have a purpose within the plot.  In Undoing, Sachi’s death is the catalyst of the plot.  In Weeping Willow, the death of the main character’s betrothed is what pushes her into the anger she needs to find the strength to destroy the bad guy.

Only one of those deaths is actually shown in the respective story, and that is Sachi’s.  It is so vitally important that the readers understand the dynamics happening between the two characters (Sachi and Taphim), but Sachi is in the story for so little time that her death has to be shown.  It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever written.

I won’t lie, though – sometimes killing characters is fun, especially when it’s the bad guy.

What have your experiences been with killing your characters?  What was your favorite?  What was the one you hated to do?