I have always had a problem with writing death scenes. You always want to be able to pull at the reader’s heartstrings. You want to be able to make sure that emotion gets across to someone. How do you do that? What is the easiest way of creating that emotion and let’s face it; the worst feeling the world. Well, I came up with some tips for them. Some of these tips worked for me while writing and some didn’t. Which is perfectly okay! Find what works for you.
- Don’t have them die of old age- After giving your character a long, fulling life many people won’t think this as sad. Yes, it’s a good way to finish off your story but it doesn’t pull at the heartstrings.
- Leave one goal unfinished- It is the oldest trick in the book. Have the character not finish a goal. (ex. tell the girl he loves his feelings or finding his father etc.)
- Give them a strong relationship with other characters- Give them relationships with characters that will make the death worse than if a side character was going to die.
- Make them Fight- Have your character fight to the death. The sadness of the death will be worse after they lose the struggle.
- Kill them in the Middle of their character arc. While they are still developing– kill them.
- Don’t describe their funeral- To much detail into their funeral- may or may not kill the sadness.
- Others Surviving: Place surviving characters in a situation where having the deceased person would have helped them get out. You can choose whether you will point this fact out. Or you can get the audience to make the connection.