Sarah Hoyt has a good piece on killing characters in fiction. Go read it:
No. Seriously. Go read it.
I haven’t done a lot of killing of characters in my published fiction.
I’ve killed, oh, I think three people in my published fiction (well, four if you count . . . but that was a Heroes in Hell story
and he was already dead so I don’t know if that counts.
The first one was in the opening scene of a story and was basically intended to set the stakes for the plot: If they don’t solve the problem people die. The other two were in “Time for Tears” (Sword & Sorceress XXVI
–available now from Amazon and other fine booksellers
). In that one the deaths were the climax of the story, were heavily foreshadowed and, frankly the story may have gotten a little maudlin (but the check cleared so I can’t complain too much).