1. CharlieTheUnicorn13
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    CharlieTheUnicorn13 Member

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    Can you create a character only to have them killed?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by CharlieTheUnicorn13, Dec 30, 2007.

    Well, the title basically says it all. I'm not sure if this is the right section to post this, but I'm pretty sure it is. I'm writing a story, and in the beginning, a very tragic event takes place, involving the deaths of thousands of people (explosions, fire, chaos). I'm really bad at writing scenes unless I have a character to follow around. So I thought I'd make one. Here's where I need your opinion. Is it okay to create a character only to have them killed? Basically, the reader would be following the girl around in her final hours of life, though they don't even know who she is. And then chapter one would start with all new characters, in a completely different place. So I'm wondering if it would just be too strange to do that. Please write back soon. :)
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    how can the reader be following the girl around before they get to the first chapter?... or, did you mean to say 'And then, chapter two...'?... or, do you have a prologue in which the girl appears, never to be heard from again?

    as for your question, virtually anything can work if the writer is talented and skilled enough to make it work... and nothing will, if the writer isn't... and many novels have characters who die in the beginning of the story... so, go ahead and see how it turns out...

    i happen to be especially fond of post-apocalyptic plots, so keep me posted...

    love and hugs, maia
    maia3maia@hotmail.com
     
  3. CharlieTheUnicorn13
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    CharlieTheUnicorn13 Member

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    Thanks. Yeah, I was talking about the prologue. Well, I'm going to post it when I actually finish it, if you're interested. Thanks for the advice. Bye! :D
     
  4. Zetta
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    Zetta Member

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    A lot of prologues have nothing to do with the actual characters in the main body of the book. I see what you're saying about needing a character, so I think it would be a good idea to create a character to follow around. And then you kill her at the end of the prologue and go on to the main story. Later on you can reference the anonymous girl, if you feel like tying her to the existing main characters, or you could just let her fade into obscurity.
     
  5. Leaka
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    Leaka Creative Mettle

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    I think its a good idea.
    I think you should do it. Sounds cool.
     
  6. Charisma
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    Charisma Transposon Contributor

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    Pretty reasonable. Go for it.
     
  7. B-Gas
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    B-Gas Contributing Member

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    Try and lay your hands on a copy of 'Elven Lied', an anime series. They took the odd step of giving you a chunk of each cannon-fodder character's history before having the major enemy killing her. For example, the incredibly clumsy secretary, who shows up in two scenes before becoming a human shield for a crazy psychic. It basically makes each cannon-fodder kill more 'meaningful' than just going and ripping a random character's head off. It's fine to make a character to have them killed- but just be sure they are real characters- flat, possibly, but real.
     
  8. Leaka
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    Leaka Creative Mettle

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    I watched that.
    It was pretty unrealistic she only killed people when she had no clothes on.

    But its a good suggestion if you don't mind nude people.
     
  9. B-Gas
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    B-Gas Contributing Member

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    Leaka- that wasn't the point at all. What I was talking about was that making a character for slaughter is fine, if enhancing the sympathy for it is your idea.
     
  10. CharlieTheUnicorn13
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    CharlieTheUnicorn13 Member

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    I didn't mean it for enhancing the sympathy--I just meant it for having someone to follow around during a very tragic event.
     
  11. Klee
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    Klee Contributing Member

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    Then maybe try watching "Jigoku Shoujo", most of the episodes work in a similar way of what you're trying to do. They present a character (or characters) that end up with a horrible death, most of them anyway. Pretty good series with an interesting and original plot.
     
  12. Edward
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    Edward Active Member

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    Damnit, i was gonna say that. I loved that and I love in general when things follow around a character, leading you to believe they're the main character, only to have them be killed or be not important.

    Going from something not an anime... it's like an episode of Law and Order. The first person you see in an episode is either going to be a victim or a witness, or in one case the killer's accomplice wait, that's the exact opposite...

    But yeah, make it seem like the character is going to be the main character, have her do things that could be of some importance later if she hadn't died. Hell, if you're really good, have her on her last day of Apprenticeship/first day of being something and then have her killed. It'll come as more of a surprise if the person you thought was the main character dies than if Jenny Cannonfodder dies.
     
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  13. knoxvicious
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    knoxvicious Member

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    i think that's compelety fine. Every writing style is different, there's no limit. There's actually a chick that's kind of followed in, probably the first 20 pages, that you get to know, hear her thoughts, feelings, and then dies.
     
  14. Kid At <3
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    Kid At <3 Senior Member

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    If you make the reader care about them enough, why not? :D
     
  15. CharlieTheUnicorn13
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    CharlieTheUnicorn13 Member

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    You are evil. :p :D :)
     
  16. flid
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    flid New Member

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    I would do it, but then I create my MC's just to kill them off :)

    For referrence to the girl, later in the story would your characters ever go to where she was? If so they could find something about her, or her if you get my meaning.
     
  17. Stinger
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    Stinger Senior Member

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    I agree with most of you guys. Yes, it's fine to have such a character.

    I myself had such a character. Even his name is Victim.
     
  18. Guybrush Threepwood
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    Guybrush Threepwood Senior Member

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    I do enjoy creating characters and building them up, then killing them in the most ungodly manners I can think of. It gets the reader emotionally vested in the character, then rips their heart and stomps it into the ground.
    ...
    Not really, but I always loved that idea of being a sadistic author.
     
  19. Ari Mar
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    Ari Mar Member

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    Absolutely.
    In one of David Eddings' books in 'The Mallorean', he follows the story of a man that contracts a type of plague, and then brings it to a city, causing about half of the city's population to die. The man who contracts it is introduced and killed in the same chapter.
     
  20. youngwriter_11311311
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    youngwriter_11311311 Contributing Member

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    Trust me when we all have in our writing. Whether it was on accident or not we all do in some fashion except for those disney stories where everyone lives happily ever after. So since it's natural to do so I would say yeah absolutely. In one of my stories i introduce the mom only to be killed in the next chapter as well as the sister.

    Sincerely,
    Youngwriter_11311311
     
  21. Kratos
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    Kratos Contributing Member

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    In George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, every single Prologue is from the POV of a character who dies at the end, and it works.
     
  22. Cheeno
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    Cheeno Contributing Member

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    Seems like a good idea to use an obscure character to take readers on an introductary journey; to have prior knowledge of how the land lies before the actual story begins. I don't see the need for the deceased character to be referred to later, though there's nothing to stop that happening if you've developed reader sympathy.
     
  23. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    A character I created for Neverending was meant from the start to give his life after living for millenia. In the novel version I'm working on, his death is what ends the first part. He is one of the three principal characters.
     
  24. nburwell
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    nburwell Senior Member

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    These characters are often called "expendable ensigns" by Star Trek fans, but Tee Morris refers to them as Born to Dies or BtD's in The Complete Guide to Writing Fantasy. Tee says to use them sparingly and that they should not serve as a substitute for the deaths of your main characters. It's also important, in my opinion, to not make it obvious that they are a BtD (depending on the storyline). Good stories don't have the bimbo blonde that willingly goes on the trip to the haunted house with the group of teenagers for some midnight fun. It should be more mysterious than that. If you do create a BtD, at least put some effort into it and try to have some purpose for them.

    ~Natalie
     
  25. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Actually, the official trekkie term is redshirts...
     

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