I tend to a gritty, realistic writing style and stick to war stories, where everything is at its harshest. If 1 out of 4 soldiers didn't get out of a battle alive, why should all 4 of my characters get out alive? I introduce a stack of characters. I introduce a stack that I don't care about and make the second group bite the dust in violent ways. The first has a far smaller risk because I like them or they're too important to die. My current method is to have the character do or say something that shows a personality trait, so readers have something to know him by, as if 'That's the obnoxious joker who's never funny' and 'he should be a paper-pusher' Thing is, I want to tug at a reader's heartstrings a bit before a character they know and love catches a bullet to the face. Along with that, I want to know how I can shoehorn a quick physical description into it. People like characters more when the can paint a picture of what they look like. I don't need anything overly detailed and I don't want people to be able to gauge importance of a character by the description alone as in 'He got a long description, so he won't die in the next chapter'. What I need, is to make a reader get attached to a character. Give the character some distinctions that make him stick out, let the audience become attached to him and then make him bite it. Any ideas for this? The gist of it is that I want to be able to shoehorn quick description and memorable aspects into a minor character without the audience knowing about whether he'll die or not in the next sentence. Halp, please?