Killing A Character – Why and How to Kill a Character + 100 Causes of Deaths

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Killing a character is easy for some, but more difficult for others. It may be necessary to advance your plot and take your protagonist to the next level in their development. It can also be used as a device for keeping your readers on their toes with good reason. We’ve all experienced some level of devastation with our favourite character is killed (I still can’t get over the death of Mufasa in The Lion King).

Why you should kill a character:

  • Their death adds to the plot.
  • It fulfills the character’s end goal.
  • Their death motivates another character to reach their full potential.
  • Death is an appropriate punishment for a character’s prior behavior.
  • Killing a character adds a sense of reality to your story.

Why you shouldn’t kill a character:

  • You want to get rid of a meaningless character.
  • You want to shock or upset your reader for no reason.

Who do you want to kill?

This decision may be as simple as an antagonist, protagonist or secondary character. You may want to kill off a group of characters, but this death has to be someone that your reader cares about.

How do you want the death to affect your reader?

Do you want them to feel like the character got what they deserved? Do you want your reader to feel grief, heartbreak, surprise, fear or relief?

What effect does this death have on the characters that remain?

Do they seek vengeance? Do they want to avenge the death of the character? Does a character slip into a state of depression or have mental health issues due to the character’s death? Does the death trigger psychological issues? Do they become addicts or pick up bad habits to mask or forget about the death? Are they motivated to live a more fulfilling life? Is their circumstances improved due to the death of the character?

Why does the character die?

Do they serve as a sacrifice for someone else or their community?  Do they try to save the protagonist’s life? Is it suicide? Is their death a mistake? Do they die in an accident or are they murdered? Are they suffering from a terminal illness? Are they infected with a virus or disease?

How do they die?

Does their death take a long time or is it sudden? Do they die trying to find an antidote or cure to a disease? Do they succumb to their death or fight it? Do they suffer or pass away peacefully? Are they in control of the circumstances around their death? Do they die alone or are their witnesses? Do they die in a public space? Are they resurrected? Is someone able to communicate with them from beyond the grave? Do they haunt the remaining characters or visit them in visions and dreams?

100 Ways to kill your character:

  1. Acid bath
  2. Acquired disease
  3. Addiction
  4. Airplane/train/car crash
  5. Alien abduction
  6. Amusement park ride malfunction
  7. Anaphylactic shock
  8. Aneurism
  9. Animal attack
  10. Arson
  11. Asteroid or meteor shower
  12. Avalanche
  13. Beheading
  14. Blizzard
  15. Boiling to death
  16. Bondage
  17. Buried alive
  18. Burning
  19. Cannibals
  20. Cannon ball
  21. Carbon Monoxide poisoning
  22. Child birth
  23. Choking
  24. Crime
  25. Crushing
  26. Cyclone
  27. Dehydration
  28. Disease due to lack of sanitation
  29. Disease spread by animals
  30. Drought
  31. Drowning
  32. Earthquake
  33. Electric chair
  34. Electrocution
  35. Excessive blood loss
  36. Exhaustion
  37. Exposure
  38. Failed science experiment
  39. Falling
  40. Falling while riding an animal
  41. Fatal sting
  42. Fight
  43. Firearms
  44. Firing squad
  45. Flood
  46. Food poisoning
  47. Gassing
  48. Genetic disease
  49. Ghost
  50. Guillotine
  51. Gutting
  52. Hailstorm
  53. Hanging
  54. Heart attack
  55. Heatwave
  56. Hit by a vehicle
  57. Hurricane
  58. Impalement
  59. Infectious disease
  60. Inhaling deadly gas by accident
  61. Insect spread disease
  62. Landslide
  63. Lethal injection
  64. Medical malpractice
  65. Murder
  66. Mythical creature
  67. Natural disaster
  68. Nuclear weapon
  69. Organ failure
  70. Parasite
  71. Plague
  72. Poisoning
  73. Quicksand
  74. Ranged weapon
  75. Roller coaster
  76. Serial killer
  77. Shipwreck
  78. Shock
  79. Sinkhole
  80. Slipping
  81. Solar flare
  82. Sports injury
  83. Stabbing
  84. Starvation
  85. Stoning
  86. Stroke
  87. Surgical complications
  88. Taking incorrect medication
  89. Terminal illness
  90. Tornado
  91. Torture
  92. Trampled
  93. Tripping
  94. Tsunami
  95. Vampires
  96. Venomous bite
  97. Volcano
  98. Witchcraft
  99. Wolves
  100. Zombies

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As always, here’s a PDF copy of this post with questions that you can answer before Killing A Character.

Have you killed a character before? How did it make you feel to kill a character? Do you have any tips to share on how to kill a character? Do you have any ways to kill a character to add to the list? Which character’s death affects you to this day? Let me know by commenting below!


Love and blessings,

Lindsay Sign Off New

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Or visit my Amazon Author Page and support me by buying a book. Feel free to drop me an email at lindsaylovinlife@gmail.com. I’d love to hear from you!


4 thoughts on “Killing A Character – Why and How to Kill a Character + 100 Causes of Deaths

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