Character Exercise

Today’s exercise is a bit more morbid. A character, whether your main, or side, has died. The circumstances are up to you. A memorial or funeral service is held.

1. Who attends? How do they react? Perhaps there is a sense of anger, relief, or even a sense that the character has cheated them (especially if they are a rival).

2. What does your character leave behind?

3. In the coming days, how do the rest of the cast get by? Does anything change?

Taking it Further

For me, killing off a character does not mean the end of the character – the character lives on in the memory of others. In my writing, I try to ensure that everyone, no matter how minor their role, matters. We all affect our world to a greater or lesser degree, and we affect others around us. The footprint we leave matters.

So consider what footprints your characters leave. Their mistakes, their triumphs, the consequences of their life. Who they spoke to, how they encouraged others. Is their impact in death even greater than in life?

For my novel series, my protagonist loses someone very dear to him at a young age. He never forgets her and carries her memory with him throughout the entirety of at least two books if not three. Her death is a major force and shapes his outlook from that moment onwards. (I won’t write the circumstances surrounding her death, but my protagonist takes it upon himself never to allow the same thing to happen again. Whether he is able to keep that promise is another matter…).

How does the reality of death (if indeed it is a reality) affect your characters? Are there any ways to cheat death? Is there hope beyond death? Is reincarnation a thing? Does divine judgement await, whether in the form of a feather and the character’s heart on a scale, or by an almighty and merciful/unmerciful deity?

Have fun!

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