Recently, in my WIP, I killed one of my characters. He wasn't the main character, but he was one of the major characters and important to the story. One of my critique partners, however, was not thrilled with what I had done. In fact, she hated the story after that. Whoa! Had I made a bad mistake?
Not long after that, a book in a series that I was reading did the same thing. The author did away with one of the major characters, and I felt the same way my crit partner had. I thought he should have survived. His death really disturbed me. So the ending of the series was ruined, in my opinion.
After these startling revelations,I revised my story and brought the character back to life. And you know what? The ending is much better, I believe. The reason for his survival is stronger than his death was. Recently I read a neat article entitled "Don't Kill the Dog." I loved it. The author says that in her book, the dog dies. She thought it would help her character grow and change when mourning the loss of her dog. The author's beta readers questioned if the dog had to die, as did her agent, and one editor told her a pet peeve of the editor was reading a story where the dog died. Yikes! Finally, the loss of her own dog recently made the author wonder about her story. To read the whole article go Query Tracker. It's great.
So how about you? Have you ever killed one of you main characters? If so, how did you feel about it?
Other news: My short story "Music in My Heart" is included in the anthology CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL, MIRACULOUS MESSAGES FROM HEAVEN.