1. osu45d
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    osu45d Member

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    Death in the first person

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by osu45d, Dec 2, 2013.

    Has anyone ever read a book written in the first person where the main character dies (possiblt with someone else's narrative.) i think that that would be very shocking if a little brutal ending to a book. and dont know how to write it.

    Im not sure about using this but it would definitely be a powerful ending.
     
  2. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, I've read a few of them. The last one, the death took place a bit short of the ending and another character picked up the narration. I won't mention the title to avoid spoilers.
     
  3. Robert_S
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    Robert_S Contributing Member

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    WTF? How can you spoil a book we don't know exists?

    Isn't this kind of along the lines of "If a tree falls in the woods..." A new kind of philosophical question "If someone tells you the ending, but not the book, is it really spoiled?"
     
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  4. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    The situation should not be that difficult to conceive. If I mention the title and someone either is reading it or wants to read it, then the ending will clearly be spoiled for them.
     
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  5. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    A similar question was asked recently, and there was a lot of back and forth as to how badly you want to break your reader's hearts. Additionally, you should consider who picks up the narration. It should be a character so important to the story, so imposing that the shift to their perspective is only natural.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The Lovely Bones
    D.O.A. (movie)
     
  7. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Poe's "MS Found in a Bottle".
     
  8. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    This edit to your post doesn't make sense. I told the ending, but not the title, to avoid a spoiler. I said it would be a spoiler if I told the ending as well as the title, which seems self-evident. This post is nonsensical, unless you're just looking to argue (in which case you ought to put more effort into it).
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    the movie classic, 'sunset boulevard' is another good example... as are 'out of the past' and 'the killers' and a slew of others...

    it's a standard of the film world to kill off a protagonist who's too bad to live happily ever after, but too good to go to prison, so s/he's killed off, being allowed to die a noble death... it can work just as well in a novel, but doesn't seem to be as acceptable to readers, as it is to movie-goers...
     
  10. DrWhozit
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    DrWhozit Banned

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    Same thing about the spoiler issue. The answer is "Yes."

    The problem with it in novels is like Steven King's "Misery." If it's a black comedy, like the movie "The Life of Brian," it's a hoot.
     
  11. Robert_S
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    Robert_S Contributing Member

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    It was intended to be a joke. Sorry if you didn't get it. Not all my jokes work.
     
  12. SuperVenom
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    SuperVenom Contributing Member

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    and then I aaaahhhhhhh.......
     
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  13. JayG
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    JayG Banned Contributor

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    So...the protagonist's reward for having been steadfast and sacrificing is death? Naaa. After spending all that time cheering for the protagonist, and being made to empathize with that character to the point where I felt I was living the story in real-time, being told that I just died would probably get the book thrown against the wall.

    It sounds like you're thinking in terms of a gimmick, to spice up the ending of the book and make it memorable.

    In the hands of a master, it can be made to work, so I can't rule it out, but given that we know only that the protagonist dies, no real judgment can be made. Why not post the synopsis? That way a valid judgment can be made on that story, rather than dealing in generalities.
     
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  14. stevesh
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    stevesh Banned Contributor

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    "First Blood", the book that introduced (inflicted?) John Rambo to the world, ended with his death. You might check the last few pages of that to see how David Morrell handled it.
     
  15. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    uh.....if he died in the first book, how could there have been so many schlocky sequels?... hollywood's reanimation machine in action?
     
  16. SuperVenom
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    SuperVenom Contributing Member

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    movie was loosely bssed. They wanted a cheer for the underdog movie.
     
  17. DrWhozit
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    DrWhozit Banned

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    They can't kill Sly. At least not until they've cashed in on 5 sequels...

    "To Build a Fire." I don't remember the writer for certain. Steinbeck?
     
  18. lex
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    lex Contributing Member

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    Jack London.
     
  19. DrWhozit
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    DrWhozit Banned

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    Thank you. I knew it was a Jack or a John. Germans call either one Hans.
     
  20. Remus Penn
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    I've only read one book where there was a first-person death, and it was incredibly surprising because before then I hadn't known you could pull something like that off. Shock factor aside, it's pretty interesting to read.
     
  21. TLK
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    TLK Active Member

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    "And then I looked down and I had no head. Then I thought, 'how can I look down if I have no head?' Then I died".
     
  22. Bjørnar Munkerud
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    I'm doing this in the novel I'm writing now, and it's not even at the end; it's very early on in the story. The part before his death basically serves as a prologue. During the course of the newt few chapter after this we're introduced to the "real" main character, and that part is all in the third person. I like using dead herrings. It makes it easier for the reader to realise that anything can happen, so that they won't be expecting or getting the typical no-important-characters-die happy ending story, complete with villains, climaxes, fights and the MC turning from a relative bastard to a Mary Sue-esque demi-god by the end of the story.
     
  23. vera2014
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    That's a good question. I don't recall ever reading one. It's possible that the book Lovely Bones might be written like that but I could be wrong (I only heard a bit about it from someone else).

    EDIT: Bella "died" in one of the Twilight books. She describes her heart stopping, among other things, but not everyone thinks vampires are dead so this one is subjective.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2014
  24. ChloeALR
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    ChloeALR New Member

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    Haha. I think I know exactly which book you're on about.

    I think writing death in the first person will be a challenge but achievable. Perhaps describe a darkness spreading over them? A feeling of numbness? A friend of mine was legally dead for a few minutes after an accident and she said that it felt like nothing. She physically couldn't feel anything. She said it wasn't even black. She couldn't describe it to me. Nobody really knows what dying feels like... so use your imagination!
     
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  25. MattTalent
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    MattTalent Member

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    That must have been quite an experience for both you and your friend! I'm not sure how to answer that question. I remember writing a short story quite a number of years ago (I was still a young kid) and the character died in the end. I just simply stated that everything went black and that was it. However, that was MY example and MY thoughts from back then that I'm giving you. Just use your imagination! :D
     

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