Should I kill him?

Being a pantser, I’ve come to a place in my manuscript where I added a character purely to raise the stakes. Now, I’m trying to decide if I should “redshirt” (kill him off to reinforce the seriousness of the situation) him or just put I’m in a coma.

He’s the police officer boyfriend of of the heroine’s best friend. The friend is tied to a chair because she’s possessed by a demon. The boyfriend has come to visit and caught them with his girlfriend tied to a chair. He’s not anything more than a bit character, but he is a policeman, how would you as a reader feel if I kill him off?

Oh, the demon is going to attack him not the hero, etc.

Help, please!

14 thoughts on “Should I kill him?

  1. Always a good point, but he’s not a Chimera, so not in this series. With five more brothers to settle, I’m not hurting for heroes!:-)

  2. Sometimes bit characters especially if they are Bffs with the heroine and a cop could come in handy to use as a vehicle to move the plot forward or veer it off into a direction you may not have thought of at the time…. jus sayin:)

    1. I agree completely, which is one of the reasons I’m having trouble deciding what to do with him. I’ve got a ton of people in this scene. Plus, I’ll have to dispose of the body. Not a problem since the oldest brother’s half-demon friend can phase him out and dump him, but killing a police officer might upset some readers and there would be a big uproar in the town the book is set in. I am leaning toward coma…

  3. I say don’t kill him yet because you may need him in the future. Putting him in a coma keeps him available but not always around and you can “come get him” if/when you need him.

    Plus just from having read the blurb on the first book having a police officer in your corner could be someone the H/h could/would need in the future.

    1. Thanks so much for your input! A coma is sounding better and better. And you’re right, I do need an “in” with the police.

  4. My thought is more along the lines of…is this the thing that’s most expected at this point, that someone dies? If it is, you may not get the reader reaction you want as it’s maybe on the side of too predictable. Other options could include grievous injury that he then has to recover from, leading to more issues in the future, thus upping your conflict problem if your h/h feel guilty about his injuries.

    Or he could be turned into a demon. (Whedon’s favorite trick.)

    But, basically, it always raises red flags to me when a character is added solely to raise the stakes, as you say. Because every character is the star of their own story, so maybe the answer is to get inside the bit-part character and see what makes things awful for him, and that might make things similarly awful for your h/h and lead to something less predictable.

    Or, as one of my writing friends always says, “if you’re asking the question, that means you’re already not in favor of the idea.”

      1. Aye, there’s the rub!

        You won’t have time to get to know him, but he *is* a policeman. Kind of like killing the cat…

      2. She used to live in Ohio but it’s not the friend you’re thinking about. (It’s Jenny Crusie who always used to throw out “if you’re asking, then you’re already thinking it’s not right.”

  5. Yes, yes, let him live! I don’t like to see policemen die, and you’re right, it would cause a terrible uproar in the town. Lots of grieving and repercussions. I vote for the coma too.

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