1. Xylie
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    Xylie New Member

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    Death Scenes: Do You Like 'Em Beautiful, Suspenseful, or Concise?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Xylie, Sep 25, 2010.

    And would you prefer to cry at a death scene, be given the chills, or feel not much at all (some people don't like the fluff, you know...)?
     
  2. Naiyn
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    Naiyn Contributing Member

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    I would answer "yes" to all of the options listed. It's all in the context of the story.
     
  3. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Who's dying? And what's the overall tone of the story? A lot of questions have to be answered before this one can even be asked.
     
  4. aimlessramblings
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    aimlessramblings Member

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    i like detail, i want to be able to as i read it visualize and be able to actually be there ... know what i mean?
     
  5. Blips
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    Blips Member

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    Bloody, original and completely unexpected (but not unrealistic).

    Beautiful and suspenseful (when expected) depending upon the character. Concise can be nice :)D) depending upon the situation.
     
  6. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    It depends on the story and how I feel about the character that's died.

    If I don't like the character I may have felt like bumping him/her off myself.
     
  7. SashaMerideth
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    SashaMerideth Contributing Member

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    So far, I have killed two of my characters, but my characters were on the run, no time for a death scene, but I am killing a third soon, in a way that gives people time to be sad or however they will deal with it. I will try to make this one at least interesting to read.
     
  8. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't write too many death scenes - I usually work with a pretty small cast of characters in the kind of situation where everyone has enough to deal with - if someone had to die it'd be a very minor character off screen - like a grandma or something. My plots tend to be really low-key. And I see everyone as essential to the plot. And I want them to take away something from the experience and show that, so... Again, another reason not to kill them.

    I can only remember one death scene for a major character that I wrote, and the actual death was pretty sudden, but I thought the buildup, though not saying outright she was about to die was pretty obvious so hopefully should have made it pretty poignant. :p
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    What kind of death scene does the story demand?

    That is all that matters.
     
  10. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    I like intense emotional moments, and by that I mean feeling those emotions as a reader. Death or something dramatic in a scene might not necessarily evoke such emotions. But a common/simple sentence like 'my name is John' or even a word can evoke such emotions if used in the right context. Don't know if I am making any sense...so I will stop now
     
  11. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    It depends on who's the one that's dying.

    If the dying character was evil, hurt many innocent people and was generally being a huge jerk, I would have no sympathy for him/her. In fact, I might even cheer for who/whatever was killing him/her. (Especially if it were ironic or out of the blue like a bandit villain being mauled to death by a cougar)
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    that!

    [i know it's boring to see me just agree with cog all the time [well, almost], but we are of the same mind on things writing-wise and he gets here before me due to the time difference, so gets to say it first]
     
  13. IVIilitarus
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    IVIilitarus Member

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    My idea varies from character and place.

    If it's a thing done routinely by a character to a nobody else like say, clearing a house with a team of my characters, it's concise and direct.

    'He saw the man crawling for cover around the corner and poured 3 bursts, each a heartbeat after the previous and walked them into the wounded man. The first stuck the floor behind him, the second ripped through the wall next to him, pelting him with masonry. 2 rounds from the 3rd burst hit home. The man slumped to the floor and didn't move.'


    If a minor character got pasted, it's more descriptive.

    'Frye felt the world vibrate and lost balance, he fell backwards onto the hard dirt and felt wet grains of dirt rain on his face. He tried to sit up, but found his leg not responded.

    He propped himself up on his arms with a great effort and saw a rapidly growing pool of blood darkening the sand from a shredded left shin. He leaned over for a closer look, dizziness settling in and felt an ache in his torso. He looked down and saw even more blood spilling from his stomach and staining the dark fabric of his fatigues. The dizziness reached a peak and he slumped to the side, now unable to sit.'


    I never get beautiful with character deaths. Mostly, it's blunt and concise. I could get suspenseful when appropriate, but there's plenty of things that are unnerving in open warfare, so there's usually no need.
     
  14. viktor
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    viktor Member

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    I like them brutal, disturbing and concise.
     
  15. Peerie Pict
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    Peerie Pict Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think the idea of a 'beautiful' death is a rather pathetic excuse for us to collectively pretend that death isn't a horrible, often painful, experience.

    So no, no beautiful deaths please.
     
  16. wavodavo
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    wavodavo Member

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    It depends on the length of the story. For novels I go in expecting at least one character to die--because the story arc is often at least a lifetime. How exactly he or she dies is not so important; I want to have liked and lived with the character so long that I feel loss at their passing. The work is done before the death scene, not at the death scene.

    In short stories, often people don't die. But, if die they must, I agree with cog in that they must die true to the situation. I'll accept unjust deaths, just deaths, sudden death, death that takes the whole story.

    What I don't like in death scenes with too much gore. There are writers--usually young and inexperienced male authors--who revel in the 'super slo-mo' thing as if most readers actually care about experiencing every gruesome detail. If the whole point of the description is to make me squirm, I see that intent fairly early and will skip ahead--kind of giving the manipulative author the finger by turning a blind eye to his art. If the intent is to simply shock the reader with a likable character found murdered (say) there are ways to make it clear he/she died by violence without having the reader slip and fall face first in the blood.

    Also, as a man...and a U.S. man at that...I detest maudlin death scenes with everyone weeping and dirges playing and rain pouring down in buckets and an endless parade of eulogies. I don't want that kind of catharsis. I don't need it. I'm likely to slip away and on the way out pull the fire alarm at that funeral.
     
  17. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    It all depends on the story and character. A badass guy should probably go out in a badass way. Innocent and fragile characters should get a tearful death. IMO, like anything else, you gotta go with what feels right for the story as there really isn't a general rule to apply. I've written the badass deaths, I've written deaths where a character quietly slips away, or violent deaths that leave a wide-eyed bloodied corpse. There's no general rule.
     

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