A main character’s death in a story can make or break the story. Now I personally don’t like when one of the main characters I invested my feelings in dies. I am so torn up I can barely finish the novel (can’t see the words with all the stupid tears blocking my vision). But I will always remember how that book made me cry, how I become emotionally invested in not only the characters but the book itself and the world it took me to. I will also look for books by that author or authors.
Killing off a main character that has accomplished all the goals he set out to do and dying before fully enjoying his accomplishments, that has a negative impact on the book in my opinion. Even if there were someone there to acknowledge his accomplishments or reap the benefits of what he accomplished, has a negative impact on the reader. Of course there are talented authors out there where they can do this and still spin it where the main character death can be emotionally positive to the readers even if it causes a roaring storm of anger, grief and disappointment in their readers’ hearts, but those authors are few and far between.
When the main character death happens it has to be the right moment. There has to be a lot of work before the death. It doesn’t hinges on if the character is a saint or a devil, or the deeds they did whether bad or good (those play a part too but only a small part). What really matters are how they affected other people lives and if they were true to themselves. And if one person/character is affected by the characters actions or words it can offset a bomb in the readers’ heart creating a chaos of confusing emotion with the bottom line being there is a potential for growth in all people. That is the best time to kill them off when they showed the potential for growth so that it will cut the deepest in the readers’ heart and also drill in a lesson that has not been overstated.
This method can make a big impact on the story in the romance genre, but it also versatile and may work in other genres as well.
If you are an author you have to write your own path and a character death can be tricky path to cross.