Most of us have probably had it. When you give the main character the news that a major character is in terrible danger or even "probably" dead, you know the reader isn't nearly as scared as the character is. B/c the character thinks this is real life, where people you care about can just effing die, whereas the reader knows you wouldn't dare kill this person without a REALLY good reason.

But this is the first time I've written one of those moments and known the reader is 100% SURE I'm lying about the character being probably dead. Because I'm writing a romance this time and those have actual publishing genre rules, and the label "Romance" on the back cover is your guarantee that, nope, the love-interest does NOT die in Chapter 20, no matter how much danger he is in, or how much I insist someone saw his unit surrounded & probably captured and close the chapter with someone gently breaking the news that the enemy always shoots prisoners.

So that got me thinking. Why are these moments still worthwhile? Are these moments still worthwhile? It feels worthwhile to me right now b/c it makes a good chapter ending and it sets up this tension in her the moment she sees him again, b/c he'll be doing something that really upsets her but she'll also be so relieved he survived. But I also feel like I nerfed her shock and grief a bit b/c when it came to it I just couldn't put myself through too much for something the reader knows for a fact isn't real. (I'm currently justifying this b/c the guy who gave her the news wasn't totally sure...)

I mean it makes sense that a moment like that would still be worthwhile... some of the time. Have you dealt with this? What's your sense of whether it's worth it & when & why?