Re: Killing Off Characters

#22

Quote:The entire comic book industry has this issue. 


The comic book industry has a lot of issues, and that is definitely one of them. New writer comes into an eighty year old franchise and wants to leave his mark to be memorable for all time. No interest in writing standard adventures, or even doing the hard introspective work necessary to make those old tropes and plotlines come across to the reader as a fresh take.  Nope, he has got to leave a mark - kill off Superman! Make Wonder Woman happily monogamous! 
Essentially, lazy rewrites of characters that noone will forget years after the writer's run is over, and others have to step in and clean up the mess he made.

Re: Killing Off Characters

#23

WriterObscura Wrote:
AuthorMarcel Wrote: It's arguably one of the most difficult things (at least for me) to do, especially if you've grown to love 'em, but have you ever altered the plot of your story just so you can keep a character you love alive? 

I remember during the early stages of my novel, I kept going back and forth on whether or not I should've executed this character. There were many times where I came close to modifying my plot just so they could stay alive, but in the end, I figured it was best to let 'em go for the sake of the plot. 

Have any of you had this issue before?


When my series ran at Patreon, I had introduced an extremely likable character in episode 4 and then killed her off in episode 6 - her death was a catalyst to advance the story of an MC (her wife). I struggled with it because I thoroughly enjoyed writing her, but her death was necessary to the overall narrative of the series.

Some of my readers weren't happy about it. Got accused of killing off a plus sized character (even though there are plenty more where she came from in the series); got accused of 'killing your gays' even though nearly every character is essentially homosexual because its a single-gender society. The anger subsided after a few days, but all I could do as a writer was stay true to the story I planned, and roll with the punches in silence.
Creepy. Thats exactly what happens in my story. Killed off the main characters love interest on chapter 6 and it ends up being the catalyst for the main characters developement. Lol. Her death was too brutal. None of my readers expected it

Re: Killing Off Characters

#24

EnhancedBeing Wrote: No, for me, once they dead, they dead.
This is my stance as well. My worldbuilding technically includes afterlife material and returning from the dead isn't impossible, but I have no intentions of ever resurrecting a deceased primary character. Usually that means the character shouldn't have been killed off in the first place.

Re: Killing Off Characters

#25
When it comes to the death of main characters, I tend to view it from a literary perspective. Characters in stories are interesting as long as there's something to learn from them, as long as there's room for them to grow. So for me once a character has finished their personal progression they're no longer interesting to keep in the story. At this point they either fade out of the plot or they die to make room for characters who are still developing.

Some characters have a specific role in the story and when their task is done, their death can catalyze the development of another character. In this case their role and contribution to the story also specifically involves their death. The stronger the character is, the more impact their death can have.

Re: Killing Off Characters

#27

Bluelightning42 Wrote: My rough draft had one of the mainish characters die around chapter 20-30 but then I realised that killing off said character would break the lighthearted tone I wanted to keep for my story.

Going forward if I have a different series with a different tone and it makes sense to kill someone off I'll probably commit to it.
I dont think I've ever written anything lighthearted.  I don't know why. 

Re: Killing Off Characters

#28

WriterObscura Wrote:
AuthorMarcel Wrote: It's arguably one of the most difficult things (at least for me) to do, especially if you've grown to love 'em, but have you ever altered the plot of your story just so you can keep a character you love alive? 

I remember during the early stages of my novel, I kept going back and forth on whether or not I should've executed this character. There were many times where I came close to modifying my plot just so they could stay alive, but in the end, I figured it was best to let 'em go for the sake of the plot. 

Have any of you had this issue before?


When my series ran at Patreon, I had introduced an extremely likable character in episode 4 and then killed her off in episode 6 - her death was a catalyst to advance the story of an MC (her wife). I struggled with it because I thoroughly enjoyed writing her, but her death was necessary to the overall narrative of the series.

Some of my readers weren't happy about it. Got accused of killing off a plus sized character (even though there are plenty more where she came from in the series); got accused of 'killing your gays' even though nearly every character is essentially homosexual because its a single-gender society. The anger subsided after a few days, but all I could do as a writer was stay true to the story I planned, and roll with the punches in silence.

That's an interesting experience actually and I must ask, when that happens, and you have fans angry at you for such a thing, how much pressure does it add to your writing when fan expectations aren't met? I know you can't please everyone and I commend you for sticking to your guns, but I can imagine there's some sort of pressure felt when something like that happens. 

Re: Killing Off Characters

#29

Ovid Wrote:
Quote:The entire comic book industry has this issue. 


The comic book industry has a lot of issues, and that is definitely one of them. New writer comes into an eighty year old franchise and wants to leave his mark to be memorable for all time. No interest in writing standard adventures, or even doing the hard introspective work necessary to make those old tropes and plotlines come across to the reader as a fresh take.  Nope, he has got to leave a mark - kill off Superman! Make Wonder Woman happily monogamous! 
Essentially, lazy rewrites of characters that noone will forget years after the writer's run is over, and others have to step in and clean up the mess he made.
And this is a large part of why mangas are currently outselling western comic books. 

Re: Killing Off Characters

#30

EnhancedBeing Wrote:
AuthorMarcel Wrote:
EnhancedBeing Wrote: I don't mind it! I think some of the best stuff comes from a death. 

For the ones I am definitely killing/have killed, I had their deaths in mind when I first created them. I do have the potential to kill off another two before the final volume but I'm not sure still. Like someone said, it's got to make sense to the plot, BUT..... but then also I actually do like the out of the blue ones too. People die when you least expect them to, and I quite like reflecting that!

Agreed, especially about the parts where it's gotta make sense and ones that are out of the blue. Those are the ones that hit you the most, and understanding the finality of it is complicated (as a reader). 

Now, with that being said, are you one to bring those characters back or once they're dead they're dead?


No, for me, once they dead, they dead. My setting doesn't involve a magic or supernatural element like that to facilitate that sort of process, for that reason. Even my strongest healers can't reverse death. Like I might have one appear in flashbacks, but they're not necessarily about them, they're just of a time when they were there. 

I think a bring-back-from-death can work if it was the intention to do so in the first place, rather than a response to feedback "oh crap, the audience really liked her, we got to bring her back somehow". 
But either way I do personally think it cheapens the death if they come back. Like, you give the reader all these feels and then "nevermind, they're back now!" just takes the impact away.


Wait, so your dead characters don't later get revealed to have been robot duplicates from another dimension with all the exact same memories as the original?

I don't think you're giving us the authentic comic book superhero experience.  DrakanThinking

Re: Killing Off Characters

#32
I remember writing a piece in which one of the characters that appears is first introduced in a way that it was his near his time of death. However as I was writing about his interaction with another character, I kind of grew to like the dying character. It was kind of said to say goodbye. But then again, he'd been introduced for that scene. 

Somehow though, his interactions made him seem a bit more important in his impact before that point, than I'd imagined before writing his part. 

Sometimes, you don't want to say... goodb... what was I saying?

Re: Killing Off Characters

#33
I'm struggling with this right now :( 
I always planned to kill of this one character... but now I'm getting a little attached. I'm considering making someone else suffer instead. I find that characters (especially those who are going through life or death situations) do have to sustain injuries or die... otherwise it seems unrealistic. 

Re: Killing Off Characters

#35

WriterObscura Wrote:
AuthorMarcel Wrote: That's an interesting experience actually and I must ask, when that happens, and you have fans angry at you for such a thing, how much pressure does it add to your writing when fan expectations aren't met? I know you can't please everyone and I commend you for sticking to your guns, but I can imagine there's some sort of pressure felt when something like that happens.
If I consider how readers might react to a developing a characters arc, I'll end up writing 'disposable characters' for the sake of giving a pleasant ending to reader favorites. I'm selfish in that I write for myself and not potential readers. I did that dance as a published writer, and I didn't like it. :( 


Yes, there's pressure, but I always remember that I cannot control what's in a readers head (what they mentally bring to reading or viewing a creators art). Some expressed anger at me for killing their fav, and that meant my story and character affected them on the level that it was meant to. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Beautifully said. If the readers experience emotion of any kind while reading our books, then we've done our job as writers 

Re: Killing Off Characters

#39

Kiebahow Wrote: Nope, I plan the deaths of my characters as I'm making them. No one is safe. Sure, I may alter the death a bit. But I try to never stray too far.
Nice. Now, once you plan a death for a character, do you ever intend to bring them back? Seems like a silly question I know, but a lot of authors use "pseudo-deaths" to advance plot or pander to their fanbase.