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  1. #1
    Senior Zeitzbach's Avatar
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    Geting too attached and killing off your characters

    WHY MUST THIS HAPPEN?!

    It's pretty obvious that unless it's a slice-of-life fiction, death is pretty much guaranteed. (Even in slice-of-life, it is possible for someone to die, often the grandma/grandpa that is badass or very nice)

    Most of the time, it's the villains. Once in a while, it's part of the main casts.

    It really sucks when the fodder you made purely to die is extremely fun to write about and have in your story. Like, imagine a group of thieves. The leader is probably someone trying to be cool and badass and is so generic you won't mind killing him.

    But now, imagine that he is actually someone different. Instead of a cruel and quiet badass, he's a kind brotherly figure to everyone in the group that gets everyone to clap and shout "BIG BROTHER!", "BOSS!" or "ANIKI!" when he fights because they love him so much.

    Then you kill him off and everyone goes.

    Q-Q

    Yeah.

    Dammit, how the hell will I finish Volf's background story if everyone keep telling me I'm too cruel for killing off his girlfriend. The guilt!

  2. #2
    Senior Red's Avatar
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    Given the nature of the story I'm currently writing, I know that every character I create will die some way or another, be it barely touched upon or totally "off-screen". The best thing to do while planning a character is define off the bat where/when he's gonna die,, then give him his input on the story and finally define his traits and personnality. Also, you need to be a nicely rounded sociopath/asshole and not get too attached to them. That said, I personally revel in creating characters that will get a good punishment, sooo... Maybe you shouldn't give too much consideration to my advice ^^'
    This link might contain cookies. Spoilers : it does not, it's just a trap link towards something I write. Sorry...

  3. #3
    a good exercise to do is have something kind of like a choose-your-adventure, with multiple possibilities. in addition to scenarios where a character dies, perhaps also include offshoots where he/she/they lives? you can go all kinds of places in your writing with that.

  4. #4
    It entirely depends of what you´re writing. In al seriousness, a cliffhanger is always necessary?? I mean, it is always necessary to get rid of a character you find quite enjoyable to write about for the need of a cliffhanger?? A little more of context would be nice since right now this description is vague. It is just telling me something like "let´s put a death in there just because"

    Also, what do you write??

  5. #5
    Senior Zeitzbach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red View Post
    Also, you need to be a nicely rounded sociopath/asshole and not get too attached to them.
    This is the hardest part. If you can't even feel or get attached to your character, they will likely come out really plain, boring and generic.

    On the other hand, the more you like them, as long as you avoid making them THE CHARACTER of the fiction which will turns him into a sue, you will likely get a very interesting or fun character, that is likely fated to die.

    @no_really : Considered that a lot. There were routes planned where the characters will live instead. Sadly, the world isn't perfect and the right route is the harsh route.

    @Aine : Considering that it's a fantasy fic where people fight a lot, I feel like it's needed that the supporting casts and part of the main casts will have to die to keep the whole thing serious and not just "Let's steamroll through everything"

    Moreover, a friend's death is one of the most logical reason to why a person would suddenly take action and join side.

  6. #6
    Junior DragonMasterX's Avatar
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    Test the waters, why don't you? Try a dream sequence cleverly disguised as something that could plausibly happen and kill off the character(s) you have doubts about.

    I did it in the first part of my newest story, with only me knowing it was a dream. Sure, there were speculations, but many of the viewers were scared and spiteful about the fact I had off-screen killed one of their dearest characters.

    Then on Part 2, I revealed it had all been a nightmare of one of the characters.

    Doing that can help gauge your audience's interests for particular characters. I have a better idea of the cast's individual popularity now! So it can also help with statistics farming without asking a single question. lol
    Check out my action-comedy series, The Stinger!

    https://www.weasyl.com/submissions?u...folderid=31474

  7. #7
    If one of the characters die, how does that advance another's overall character?

    If Uncle Ben hadn't died, would Spider-man still be 'spiderman?'
    If Dumbledore hadn't died, would Harry Potter still find his own strength and courage to defeat Voldemort?
    If Rob Stark wasn't killed, there would be no story or purpose to Game of Thrones.
    If people didn't die in the Hunger Games, there would be no story.
    If Monk Kiatzu's corpse hadn't been found, Aang wouldn't have realized how serious the war was, and he probably wouldn't get his reality check until way too late.

    If you want to kill a character off, it has to be for a reason, not just to kill someone off. It sucks, but knowing it will better another character and make for a good story will make it easier. Sometimes it HAS to be done. It doesn't have to be right away, but when that character has served a purpose, you'll know when their time is up. And if you have to bring them back, it also has to be for a reason, not just 'cause you like them.

  8. #8
    Regular certifiedkowaidad's Avatar
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    If they're upset about the character dying, it might mean you're doing a good job. You managed to effect someone. It might also mean the character's death was gratuitous or unsatisfying as a vehicle to where you're taking the story. Main (and even supporting) character deaths are rare in fiction outside of a few prescribed circumstances. Young, healthy, audience-identifiable characters may as well be invincible, even in war stories. In film you'll notice that the main characters have a forcefield around them so only nameless soldiers will ever be mortally injured.

    If you can pull it off, more power to you. Personally I advise caution. Unnecessary character death can jank your story's world up pretty hard. Main character death implies a harsher world than most stories take place in. Readers assume the main cast is immortal, and it's a sudden (and not always welcome) shock to discover that they are not. Especially in fantasy/sci-fi where people get whingey when a character dies. If your world is a grimdark slaughterfest like Game of Thrones, consider preparing the audience by letting them know all characters are mortal beforehand. Even ones who aren't aged lore masters who pass away just after giving the main character the Golden Chosen Thing.

  9.   This is the last staff post in this thread.   #9
    Retired Staff Tiger's Avatar
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    I wrote a very short story a while back about a character who's (grammar?) mother is shot and killed almost immediately in the story (at the beginning of page 2). I felt really bad for killing a her but without her death the story would have been incredibly long and complicated and the story had to be 10 pages max so I ended up with exactly 10 pages.

    I know the readers didn't have much attachment to the mama but I hoped that they would feel very strong empathy for the character so I think the decision to have her killed worked out pretty well.
    Last edited by Tiger; 03-04-2014 at 12:38 AM.

  10. #10
    Heretic! FlynnCoyote's Avatar


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    I follow a pretty strict yet loose formula for this. When I create the character, I have a set goal in mind for them, something to do with the plot that hinges on them being alive. Once they have achieved their purpose, I string them along until it becomes convenient or necessary to have them killed, sometimes heroically, and sometimes a quick unexpected death.

    For example, Character A is the protagonist. Character B is there as a constant companion and friend/lover, but the defining moment of Char B's life is to save the life of Char A. In the midst of war, B saves the life of A during a critical battle, thus ensuring that A survives to reach his own critical point, and then later on B will die because plotwise, it was a logical thing to happen to that character.

    Stories about war and adventure and such where the main cast all survive simply because they're the main cast really irritate me. I don't spare the detail on my characters, I do get attached to many of them, but at the end of the day if one of them would die given a realistic look at the current situation, then I will have them die if their number's up.
    * * *
    We'll find a reason, or else realize that we don't need one.

 

 

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