When to Kill Off a Character?

I’ve been working on one of my short stories lately, because I want to at least try to get something published this year…and I ran into a little snag. On Sunday, I finished a rough draft for it, but it didn’t seem complete.

I had alluded to the idea that one of the characters does pass away earlier in the story, but when I got to the end, there she was a live and well, and I was happy with that. She was so good, sweet, and compassionate and I wanted to keep her, was that such a bad thing?

But the story seems to lack a climax, a moment that resonates with the reader, that draws the story to the close, to some kind of satisfying end or resolution. It kind of struck me in that aw man, type of way, when I realized that the death of one of my favorite characters might just be the sacrifice that the story needs to make it complete, but I’m dragging my feet.

How do you know when a death in a story is really necessary?

I did a little research, and the overall idea, it seems, is to incite some reaction from your reader (which is what I need,) and it should advance the plot, (which this would.)

The fact of the matter is: I don’t want to kill her! I love this character and the idea of just offing her in some grand sacrifice, makes me feel kind of sick inside. But if it upsets me, surely it might be necessary to the story?

I guess I was wondering your take on the matter?

Do you guys know when it is the right time to kill off a character? And are you finding it as difficult as me?

I guess I’ve never given it much thought until now…and I can’t imagine what J.K. Rowling must have went through when she had to face the death of Dumbledore…(yeesh!)

Hope everyone is having a great night! Happy Writing!