The fictional character’s survival guide

So, at a holiday party last night with some fellow Arizona children’s book writers, we got to talking (by way of a discussion of Stranger Than Fiction, which I’ve not seen yet) about what it takes for a fictional character to survive to the end of the story. About what we would teach, if we were running a survival school for fictional characters.

The most obvious, first and foremost lesson was: If you can’t be the hero of the story, make sure you’re a minor character. The hero has a good chance of surviving. So does the mailman. But the secondary sidekick is probably toast. But make sure you’re not too minor a character. Then you become easy to kill again.

A corollary, or maybe just another way of putting this being: Don’t be so compelling that your death would make for good story. But don’t be so minor/barely noticeable that you make convenient cannon fodder, either.

But surely, this is only the beginning. What other survival tips do you all have, for fictional characters who’d like to survive the machinations of their writers?

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