1. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    Describing Death From the POV of the Person Dying

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Show, Nov 11, 2008.

    Ok, in my serial, I have just killed off a major character. The character's death is slow in the hospital. I wanted viewers to sort of see this death from a lot of different POV, not just the character's friends and family, but also his own. Seeing as I've never died, I can't really know how it feels, to die. I wrote the scene but I don't know if it really came out alright or not.

    Has this issue ever crept up in your writing and do you have any advice for me? How do I describe what it feels like to die, to slowly feel your life leave your body until you're consciousness is gone?(your body then having died)

    (BTW, the character dying is a boy around 12 years of age.) Any advice you have would be really appreciated.
     
  2. Rem Nightfall
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    Rem Nightfall Banned

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    'Ello bare with my help, its very unnatural help. The feeling you are exhausted, and the thought in your mind on how you want to go on. Your body slowly, giving up. Mentally you don't want to give up. Denial of death.
    Then acceptance, you give up and its just like falling asleep. Your eyes feel heavy, and the world begins to disappear under your closing lids. The world surely unfocus, like squinting your eyes shut. And then its black.
    Though everyone's experience with death is different for those who died. Please don't ask me what revival is like, it will sound just as unnatural as this did. Sounds more story like then advice, I tried though.
    Hope I helped, if I haven't please ask me to clarify, I will try.

    Here and Now
    ~Rem Nightfall
     
  3. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    Nah that's a pretty good. I'll see how everyone else responds. Collective knowledge is a good thing and everyone who responds is part of that.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    One of my first stories, in fact the very first one I posted on this site, focuses on the death of one of the two characters from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. It is basically a horror story, Forever in a Heartbeat.

    I don't know if it will help at all, and as I said, it's one of my first stories. I'm sure it could stand another complete rewrite, but it probably will naver happen.
     
  5. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hmmmm, suicide is a bit different then being the victim of a murder or crime. Suicide, IMO, is an entirely different emotional issue. Whereas, when you're the victim of a murder, or die of a disease or something, the feeling is different. Those who committ suicide might embrace death eagerly where those whose lives are taken from them may not want to die but have no choice due to their bodies giving out. I want this scene to be intense and I think that includes giving a realistic take on what the person dying is thinking and feeling as they die. Anything else, I feel, would take away from the full potential of the scene so this is something I feel extra important I do extra carefully.
     
  6. silver quill
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    silver quill New Member

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    Taking the reader thorugh death in the first person is a very fragile topic i think. you have to go about it very carefully and you have to pull it off flawlessly. generally i don't touch on the subject because i always cater for the difficult reader who's going to ask "If they died, how are they still telling the story?" unless the genre is fantacy or supernatural or something. i never tried it because i haven't yet found the perfect way of bringing it across without leaving any questions in the reader's mind but i've always found the topic intriguing and it's something i'd like to write about sometime. as for you doing it, i admire you and my advice to you is this:
    Keep it simple, don't drag it out too much because the reader will get bored and it will also give them more things to criticise. and taking into consideration the fact that the character is only 12 it means that he wont be able to fully describe it as artistically as a grown person would because of ignorance. but as a child, he should be very scared and yet very detailed because children will describe every single thing just as they see them. the wording should also be simple because i doubt whether a child would know to describe in medical terms the shutdown of their body. the reader must be sorry for the child because of his innocence and the fact that he doesn't yet know what he is experiencing.
    all in all, good luck with your piece and i hope to read it sometime.
    sorry to make this so wordy but i hope i helped even if just a bit...
     
  7. Show
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    lol Thanks, I hope it turned out ok. It's not really done in the "first person" per say. But I tried to show the POV of the person dying. But I also tried to capture the POVs of those around him. I guess you could say that it's from an invisible POV or something like that, but it gets really complicated with what you try to label my writing as. I guess I'm a writing maverick sometimes, lol. My writing can be a bit crazy, mainly cause there is like this TV show playing in my head, and I'm just trying to get whats happening down into words.

    My goal is to take the reader into the kid's mind. It feels less intense if he's telling the story, IMO. But I still want people to sort of see things through his perspective as well. So it's definitely hard. I'll probably edit the scene a couple times before I release the final version in April. The kid is a bit more mature than most 12 year olds would be, mainly due to the many traumas he's experienced in the past. (His overcoming of said traumas is intended to make the death more tragic.) I know it may come off as a bit drawn out, I'm hoping the way I did it will work. As I said, my writing is well, different, than most. So it's not done in 1st person, but I still tried to make it from the POV of the person dying. Maybe if this was a novel, it wouldn't work. But this is a serial, and I try to write like an actual television serial. I guess if you're used to my quirky style, like my few readers are, it should work. From an outside perspective, it might get more criticism. I'm letting somebody not invested in the characters review the episode. I'm still waiting to see how they'll rate it.

    Thanks for all your help though.
     
  8. silver quill
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    silver quill New Member

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    sure no prob... i'll go read something of yours right now to prepare mysefl for your upcoming piece. you'll see me comment in one of them most likely
     
  9. Carthonn
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    Carthonn Active Member

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    I would say something along the lines of - denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. That would be pretty realistic to me and fit several POV's.
     
  10. browneyes106
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    browneyes106 New Member

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    I'm struggling with the same thing too. I'm a writing a story about a young woman's death and how her death affects the friends and family that always cared about her when she was alive and how her death affects the friends and family who never gave her the time of the day.
     
  11. de la vega
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    de la vega Member

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    If you know your character well, you won't have trouble writing the scene. Don't make it generic. Don't seek out ways to describe death generically. You want to describe it as your character would see it. Not as a 12-year-old would see it; not as a boy would see it; not as someone dying a slow death in a hospital would see it. You want to seek out ways to describe your character's death the way he would see it. Take some time to get to know your character. Once you're as familiar with him as if he were a brother, then you'll know how to write the scene. It will come to you.
     
  12. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    That is what I tried to do, hopefully I succeeded in that. I did try to get to know him as a brother long before my brain decided it'd be a good idea to kill him off. (Seeing as he was one of my favorites, I really wanted to kill the brain for that one, but he's sort of the one who makes all the stories and I try to keep emotions out of the way. lol)

    That more describes the mindset of those around him. Especially the man who took him in after his parents were murdered. Except for bargaining, he'll go through the other four phases at some point.

    What makes things interesting is that there is nobody to get revenge on. The murderer is dead now. So there is nobody to kill, nobody to put in jail, nobody to see justice served on. And that's going to make things harder for him come next season.

    Anyway, I'm hoping that it turned out alright. This was one of the characters I was never supposed to kill off, says my readers. (Which kind of describes almost my whole cast from the POV from two readers, soooooooo, lol) So I had to do it carefully. This is really the first major, major, major character death I've done that was for a prominent series of mine(Not just a side job), that is not done at the end of the series, and that didn't have a miraculous recovery. There are of course, other deaths in the episode but this one is probably going to be the memorable one.
     

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