Welcome. I have been giving thought to many posts and artices I have read concerning tightening your writing and character development. Several suggestged writing 50 or 100 word pieces of micro fiction as a way to see how you can tell a story in a minimal amount of words. Not possible I thought until I sat down and worked on it and came up with the following 100 word piece of fiction:
The radio broadcast the report, “Serial rapist/killer strikes again.”
She rushed to her apartment. Unlocking the deadbolt she stepped in and locked it behind her. Turning on the light--all was well.
Walking into the bedroom, she flipped the light switch. An arm grabbed her from behind. A second of panic turned to anger. She remembered Master Cho’s lessons.
A quick twist, sound of breaking bone, the intruder was on the floor with the heel of her shoe on his neck. “Don’t move, you’ll die instantly.”
She glanced down. Her fiancé? The killer? Her foot pressed down with full force.
When my grandson read the piece he asked me, "Grandma, why do you kill off all the bad guys?" Hmm I thought, do I? No, I don't. That's where character development comes into this post. Everyone works hard to build their characters into a believeable person from the first physical or emotional description to a person you hate, love, envy, etc. Since mystery is my genre of choice for writing, there's always going to be a "bad guy or girl." There may be several. I don't willy nilly pop them out of the world and my books. If there is a reason, they die, but quite often the character has a life of their own in the book. Too valuable to kill off. He or she will work well in the sequel. Whether a main or minor character you know them quite well by the time you finish your short story or novel. Keeping or eliminating a character is the personal choice of each writer and each will see it their own way. As readers we may not fully understand why a character dies in chapter three or another is allowed to live and wreak havoc through the entire book only to escape at the end. The end, that is when it will all come together and if the writer has done a good job, we'll understand why one lives and one dies.
Is there a lesson here? Try writing 100 or 50 word pieces of micro fiction to learn to tighten your own editing skills and remember your characters are yours. They were nothing until they emerged from your imagination. You control their destiny, enjoy the trip and be sure your readers also enjoy it.