No, I don't mean the figurative saying so many writers adhere to (which means, basically, ripping out your favorite scenes). I mean killing off one of your MCs at the end of the book. (And I'm not talking about when the author follows the MC's life to its natural conclusion either.)
As a reader, I hate this. I spent x-number of pages becoming vested in the characters and I almost always feel cheated when the author kills someone off for no apparent reason. I hate this as a writer, too. I'm all about finding solutions. I love putting my characters in sticky situations and then writing a way out of them.
I'm not saying no one ever dies in my books. That would be silly. I'm writing thrillers and mysteries here, folks. Someone has to die to make the books what they are. And therein lies the key to the characters I kill off. People only die if it's absolutely necessary to the story. I'm willing to offer up a few minor characters to the writing gods. They can't have my heroes, though.
And since I am the writer, I can find a way for my heroes to get out of whatever impossible fix I've written them into. I don't understand why some writers feel like there is no other possible answer than death for their heroes. Kinda sad, really. Death to killers? Definitely. Death to villians? Perhaps. But death to heroes is something I will never understand.
Usually if I read a book where the hero dies at the end, I always find a way the hero could have survived without damaging the storyline. I could give you an example, but I don't want to spoil any plots if I can help it. (To that end, understand there will be probably be plot-spoilers in the comment chain, so read at your own risk.)
So tell me, have you ever read a book where the hero died at the end, and you thought it was necessary?* Give me an example of why someone had to be thrown into the volcano of a plot to appease the writing gods. Or better yet, pick out an example of a book where the hero dies at the end, and then give me a solution for how it could have been written with the hero surviving.
*special points to anyone who mentions the one book I can think of where the MC (and title character) dies and it is absolutely necessary to the storyline.
ETA. I was discussing this subject with my daughter and she brought up a MC death that was very necessary to the story. I didn't like it, and I wished she could have been saved, but after studying the book at length, I see why the author had to kill her off. (It's probably not a well-known book, but if you're dying of curiosity, let me know in the comments here and I'll out it tomorrow, too.)
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