We've started going through the massive slush pile. (Thank you for sending us your stories!) I've got a tip...
Earn Your Death. Often authors kill off their protagonists and other characters in their stories. And why not? It's dramatic. Unfortunately, if it's not earned, it has less of an emotional impact. How do you earn your death? By making the reader emotionally invested in the character that dies. How do you get the reader emotinoally invested? There are many ways including:
- use very specific details
- show other characters caring about the character
- show the character as an underdog, e.g. a victim of a tragedy or bullying
- show the character act heroic, e.g. save the cat<--this is a writerly trick wherein the character saves a creature even less powerful than him/herself.