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  1. AJSmith
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    AJSmith Senior Member

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    Climax

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by AJSmith, Mar 21, 2011.

    I'm getting ready to write the major, climatic events of my novel, but have been going round and round with what direction to take it. I have two major kinks that I just can't seem to work through. As a result, I'm not sure how to lay out the final events.

    Should my protagonist kill the immediate villain or if she has the option, should she send him away?

    Should her parents be killed by the immediate villain?

    This novel is the first in what will be three, and I say immediate villain because he is really just one man following the orders of the overall villain that my character will face by the end of the third novel. I'm just not sure how I feel about making my protagonist a killer, at this point anyway. I feel like this choice says something about her, and I don't know what direction to go with it. Because of the nature of this immediate villain, it may be difficult (plausibly), though not impossible to simply send him away.

    Secondly, if I do have this immediate villain kill her parents, it seems like that would be a factor that may cause her to kill him rather than send him away... again, what direction I go with this will say something about her. I also feel like her having to handle her anger over their murder would add a dimension to her and the story... in addition to the actual plot events she will have to face over the next two novels. She has had to face some ordeals throughout this novel, but her life before this has been very mild and free of major hardship (though she's had some small internal conflicts).

    I know the killing of the characters' parents, especially in fantasy, has been done a lot, but I keep wondering if that is where I should go with this. I could just as easily do it or not do it, but I want to play out the better scenario, and just can't decide on what that is.

    Some general or specific feedback would be great, maybe to help me consider elements I've been ignoring.

    Please feel free to ask clarifying questions, as I know I've been fairly vague.
     
  2. Ion
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    Ion Senior Member

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    It really depends on the type of tone you're trying to set in your story.

    If you don't want to make your protagonist a murderer, there are many other options at hand. When the protagonist defeats the villain, you can have a secondary or supporting character step up and finish them off. If they're really a villain, I'm sure more people than the protagonist want to kill them. Then you can have the protagonist wonder what they would have done if they did have the opportunity to spare them.

    Alternatively, you can have the villain realize that they've been defeated and offer to go peacefully. If I was an evil overlord and was in an unwanted sword fight with my arch rival, I would be quick to reevaluate my decisions. Then you can have your villain come up later to help and hinder the protagonist later in the story.

    Also, instead of killing both parents, you might consider having the villain just kill the father or the mother. That way you can explore the sense of loss with the other parent. You might also consider having the villain take away something else that the protagonist values greatly. Perhaps have them undo something that your character had accomplished in the past or something. Also be aware that there are plenty of other characters that you might rather have killed, especially if you don't really like writing them that much.
     
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  3. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Hi,

    This is one of those major decisions that really can only be made by you, the author - especially as none of us know the details of your story the way you do.

    If you feel that killing off the parents is cliche and would only be used as a motivator to have her kill the antag, well, there are other motives that would make someone willing to kill someone. Torture, rape, imprisonment, harming a close friend etc. So it's up to you -- what kind of subplots and character changes would be set off by killing off the parents, and is this condusive to your story? Will you ever need to use the parents as characters again? These are all questions to consider.
     
  4. AJSmith
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    AJSmith Senior Member

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    I definitely agree that I have to figure this out for myself. I guess I'm just looking for some feedback as far as what impressions you guys might get when reading a book with the various scenarios I talked about. What feelings may be evoked by the different scenarios?

    I do like the idea of it being just one parent killed, and have thought about that route...it is one of the variations I've considered.

    Ion, thanks for the idea of the supporting character doing the killing. I've also considered that option, but again... I just can't seem to commit.

    That seems to be my issue right now. I see so many directions I can take this (despite having outlined it long ago in one direction), but I just can't make myself commit to one path.
     
  5. AJSmith
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    AJSmith Senior Member

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    The killing of the parents would have minimum impact in this novel, despite the way she handles the villain and the immediate grief. The death would be a life changing event that would impact my protagonist in the two novels to come.

    I feel that my character's sheltered life has left her short in the department of internal struggle, and that is where my possible motivation of killing the parents comes from - to give her some internal turmoil to overcome when facing particular events in the next two novels.

    As far as needing the parents in the future books, their involvement, if alive would become very minimal. She has a sister who plays a large role in this novel and will continue to play that role... as well as some other key characters.

    Thanks for those thoughts though... I suppose branching from that, I could ask if it is appropriate to kill the parents in order to create the inner angst I am looking for her to develop? The parents' death would not be an afterthought, weakening the plot simply for that purpose...at least I don't think it'd come across that way.
     

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