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Don’t Fake It. Engage the Death Scene

Scene of death

by Annette Young

I’m forever harping on about bringing scenes to life and really experiencing the moments that take place in your character’s life because only then can a reader engage with your words and feel the impact of any revelation. A death scene is pretty important – whether it is a natural death, a murder or a horrific accident, there has to be a sense of shock for all those who are left behind let alone the fear or panic that the character experiences during those final moments.

I think many writers are afraid to feel these moments, to engage fully with them because guess what? They hurt. I’ve often sat and cried over my laptop as I’ve watched and orchestrated the life going out of my character’s eyes. I learned (the hard way) that to be able to capture a scene in its full intensity, you have to embrace it and feel the ripples of shock, the fear and make the reality vibrantly powerful. Place your characters and, your readers at the death scene. Let them engage with all their senses.

When someone dies…it usually takes a while. Onlookers can literally witness the light going out of the victim’s eyes. It’s a powerful moment. Life and then, nothing. This is when we know that the body is just the shell, the vehicle that we live in throughout life, but the soul, our energy releases. How long it takes that to happen at your death scene is up to you. You have to think what you are trying to achieve. Do you want your characters to experience the long-drawn out moments leading to death? Do you want death to be sudden with shock rippling through all those who are closest to them? Perhaps the only witness is the murderer, engage with this criminal mind and find out what this character is thinking and feeling as death claims a life. It’s only when you know these things that you can craft a scene where the readers are well and truly hooked.

Want to know more about crafting powerful death scenes for your novels? Watch the Writer’s Guide to Death ScenesClick HERE for powerful, visual presentations that help you to bring your writing to life.

A writer's guide to the death scene r

Photo credit: Tony Webster via / CC BY

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