How to Kill Off a Hero in a Story

Is your hero being a buzz kill, or is he just plain boring? Well, if that's the case you can easily kill him off and make a good story at the same time. Here is how to kill off your hero without making your audience boo.


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    Figure out what hero you want to kill off and how. Sometimes your hero gets boring, and/or you want to kill him off for dramatic affect. Well, if that's the case just simply make a plot where the villain takes the "Girl" or some other character valued by the hero and the only way to retrieve he/she is to fight the villain and the hero fails and dies, etc.
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    Ease into it. You can't just have the hero suddenly become crazy. You have to show signs, that he/she is going insane. GIVE HIM MOTIVE! Same with falling off a cliff, you have to show that he/she was not paying attention, not including this will make it less believable.
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    Death to hero through the eyes of a villain. The first way shown is pretty much a classic and is not very original, and can sometimes bore the audience. A cool way that will most likely amuse the audience is to walk in the villain shoes (tell his story) and then have the villain kill off the hero any way you want. The good thing about this tactic is that you can combine this tactic and almost any other one to make it more entertaining.
    • The unforgiving death. This plot/tactic is basically where the hero/good guy kills a person who is their friend/partner and goes crazy or kills himself out of depression. You can add different twists like he goes crazy and one of his friends or partners has to kill him, or you can get one of his friends to "accidentally" kill him, as this way does not require to kill a different character.
    • The cure to craziness. As the title suggest this death is very similar to one of the twist in the section "the unforgiving death", but this involves the hero to get depressed over something in his life and eventually go crazy, then to be put to death by one of his friends/partners.
    • "Accidental death". This simply involves a lethal accident that kills a hero, pretty boring.
    • The big "C". A pretty sad death that involves the hero to fall down with a lethal illness/poison/etc. that eventually kills him. A good idea to make the story better is to make the hero get the illness from a source like a plant, place, or even involve it with a past story (the hero worked in a Lab, got radiated, etc.).
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    Know that it isn't over. Death doesn't mean the end. The hero's friend could go on a dangerous quest to bring the hero back to life. It will bring the story back to life.
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    Your hero could die dramatically or sadly. For audience sympathy, go for the sad. For audience shock, go for dramatic. Explosions always work well.


  • Having the hero die from saving a friend is a noble end. It is a bit overdone, though; try having the hero save someone who's important to the quest but who isn't a dear friend. (That way, you can set up new conflict between the saved person and the survivors, and perhaps even start a subplot that revolves around why this person was saved.)
  • Have a good final line. If he/she gets killed by the villain, have him/her speak a famous final line. Try to make your own famous final line. Keep it short! Someone with a sword in his back or a bullet in his gut generally doesn't have the time or energy to make long speeches.
  • If the character is just being killed off for the crime of being boring, consider removing him from the story altogether.
  • If this is the main character, try to kill him or her off in the very last paragraph of the story. If this is one of a group of heroes, the others should experience some change as a result of their comrade's death.
  • Ask others such as friends or family for their views and thoughts on the death.
  • Don't drag out the hero's death any longer than is absolutely necessary for the story.
  • Keep your story interesting and don't limit your ideas to just this article; make up your own (and maybe even add to this).
  • A good way to ease into the death of a hero is to have him/her battle the villain and suffer and injury of some kind, yet still prevail in the fight. This causes the audience to possibly overlook the injury and think the hero is safe and the battle is won. From here, a good tactic would be to have somebody dear or important to the hero stay with him/her until the final words are said between the two. This causes the audience to feel good about the fate of the villain, slight shock from the injury's seriousness, and sympathy for the person staying with the hero until the very end.
  • It's all too easy to fall into the trap of writing a prolonged, maudlin and cliched "dying in lover's/best friend's arms" scene. As much as you might like to have a good sniffle over the demise of the character, try to stay away from this. If you're going to write this anyway, twist it: Have the hero, or other major characters, react in unexpected or even comic ways.
  • Make it poetic of very descriptive! What were the hero's last thoughts as he feel to his untimely death? How did it affect the other character? Use description and be as poetic as you can.
  • Consider a double death, so the villain gets what he deserves. An example is getting killed by lightning or falling to his death, or the hero uses his final breath to kill the villain.


  • People will ask you why you killed off your hero.
  • Make the ending interesting; if it isn't, nobody will like it. It should be a bit of a surprise, but not so surprising that it doesn't fit with the rest of the narrative.

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