The line to “kill your darlings” really applies to words and sentences (except in the case of George R.R. Martin). So I don’t go on a killing spree in my books, but I have become vindictive and started torturing some of them.
I’ve always adopted a noir attitude with regards to my endings. There are no true happy endings, more like surviving to try again tomorrow. Oh yeah, and there’s an extra weight around your neck, making it that much harder to keep your head above water.
My torture also isn’t physical. I’m messing with my characters’ heads, pondering ethical dilemmas, blurring lines of right and wrong, giving them choices doing the right thing and doing a different right thing as well as dropping other changes that seem innocuous at the time, but will germinate (or maybe fester) as time goes on.
It’s a wonder my characters don’t hate me. They might prefer Martin to what I’m doing.