In most novels that I have read, the protagonists of the story is inevitably shielded by a wall of what a friend and I call 'plot armor'. The characters in question will invariably escape with their lives despite facing impossible odds because they are required to be alive for the(more) author's story to progress.
For example, a main character may have the rope around their neck and the very second the trap opens underfoot , another character will predictably have perfect timing and snap the rope with a bullet, thus saving the hero.
If and when I write my stories, I will need to challenge myself to not become attached emotionally to any characters. It is sadistic as it sounds, but the element of uncertainty is what I believe will interest readers the most. None of my characters are ever guaranteed to live to the next chapter, which will certainly be a challenge for me to write but it's a necessary evil.
Unless I write children's stories, that is.
I'm not that mean.(less)
The timing has to be perfect. One half a second too early, and we'll live. One half a second two late, and we'll live.
We readied ourselves for it. Preparing to time it perfectly. And then we lunged. It was perfect. Our timing was so good, that w(more)e entered the void peacefully, and together. Never shall we be split, never again. (less)
Okay, here's how it's gonna go. She's going to walk through the door in ten -- no wait, nine-and-a-half minutes, because the dinner's at 7:30 and she's always punctual. She'll wave at you, smiling, and come over, draping her jacket over her chair and brushing a kiss on your(more) lips before excusing herself to the bathroom to "powder her nose." After she leaves you have precisely three minutes and twenty-five seconds to get the ninja violinists into their positions, and when she comes back you will ask about her day, as usual. An elderly waiter will hand you both a menu and recommend the clams, which she will order. The violinists will saunter up to your table when both of you are waiting for your meal and play Ave Maria, which is her favorite. She will laugh and punch your arm playfully, and that's when the food arrives. There will be a diamond ring hidden in one of the clams, and when she finds it you'll get down on your knees and propose.
You're going to double-check everything again, just in case, make sure everyone knows what they're doing because you cannot screw this up. You make sure the violinists know their set list, and the waiter had his speech memorized, and -- oh no, she's early! Not only that, but she didn't head for the ladies' room, so the violinists were forced to subtly sidle themselves in place in a painfully conspicuous manner, which earned them curious looks; while she did order the clams and her amused look at the violinists blossomed into true pleasure when they started playing for them, he realized his lack of foresight when she grimaced slightly at the dirty ring covered in sauce, and crap, there's no way --