I'm not a pacifist author. I don't know why it is. For some reason I get a twisted enjoyment out of hurting and, inevitably, killing characters. I don't know if I'm psychologically corrupted. Or maybe I'm just morbid. Either way, characters in my books are going to die. They might not be main characters, but you can be sure that someone somewhere is going to kick the bucket.
Now, this isn't necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes death, while tragic, is necessary in a story. Though, to my mind, the death of the character is not the most important part. The way it effects the other characters is the most important part.
First, why would it be necessary for a character to die? There's several reasons. A character could die to keep the story real. A character could die to make another character grow. A character could die to (strangely enough) provide comedy (it's happened! I don't know why it would be funny, but it's happened). The final reason (that I can think of) for a character to die is this: to show how high the stakes are or how evil the villain is.
Okay, now that we've seen why a character needs to die, how can characters react to it? There can be multiple ways. Characters can be sad, characters can be angry, characters can be depressed... there's many different ways people react to death. These are the things I've been processing. How would a certain character react if another certain character died? Would he/she be sad?
And after the death, what about the funeral? How do the characters react at the funeral? Is there a funeral? For example, in writing Kitten Mysteries Book 2: Trapped, a character (how much can I say without giving too much away...) dies. This character is close to one of the main characters of the series. I had to figure out how that character should react to the death. And then I had to figure out how cats would perform a funeral. It was an interesting thought process and it challenged me to deepen my writing (and all this isn't just going to happen in Book 2!).
What about you? Have you written a character death which you felt was necessary? Or have you read/seen a story in which a character death was handled particularly well? Feel free to comment below and tell me your thoughts!