Killing off characters is tough, there’s no two ways about it. Sometimes you’ve planned their death from the get go, you think when the time comes it will be easy because you’ve already resigned yourself to his or her fate. But then you get attached and you don’t want them to go, this is your baby after all. I’ve killed characters off in the past and then missed them so much I had to figure out how to bring them back without doing a Dallas (luckily my main character had a couple of mental issues which, when combined with some mind-altering drugs, created hallucinations of the dead character).
So, you have a victim, but how do you do it? Does the story pre-empt it? Will the reader be able to tell this character will die before it happens? I’ve seen a lot of films where you meet a character and you just know they’re going to die, especially if they’re played by Sean Bean. Will it be a sacrifice? Not like a ritual sacrifice (unless you want to), more like sacrificing themselves to save the world. This can be pre-empted if the reader knows about the need for sacrifice early on, or it can come out of the blue.
That’s what I’m trying to do. A completely unexpected, totally sudden death that will shock and surprise you! It’s not easy, in fact it’s really hard, especially the reaction afterwards. But I’m working on it and hopefully it’ll work out well.