1. darkbeetlebot
    Offline

    darkbeetlebot Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2011
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0

    how would one make the death of the main character REALLY sad?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by darkbeetlebot, Mar 17, 2012.

    I want my character's death to be incredibly sad and unsuspecting, but she is an insane, psychotic misanthrope, so it's really hard to make it sad other than relieving.
    my only option is to give a connection, but how? and I don't just want people to feel sorry for her, I want them to actually LIKE her.
    trust me, it's a complicated character. so, what should I do to have people like her?











    P.S. I'm probably going to regret asking this, I just know it.
     
  2. minstrel
    Offline

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Messages:
    8,723
    Likes Received:
    4,821
    Location:
    Near Los Angeles
    Wow. I think this is one of those situations where you, as the writer, have to step up and teach us all how to do this. This is where your genius comes in. Be the one who blows our minds!
     
  3. 123456789
    Offline

    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2012
    Messages:
    6,336
    Likes Received:
    3,084
    This is certainly doable. One way of attaining this might be by likening her to a pendulum.

    You want this character to be likable. Ok. Let's break up the character into her constituent parts.

    1. Insane: Is she emotionally unstable? Manic depressive? Mentally unsound. She can display all these qualities in a pendulum fashion. First she is extremely happy, then sad. First her neighbor is evil, then he's a saint.

    I personally find such oscillations strangely seductive. Secondly, the character is always interesting because its like watching the world through special glasses. On that note, its important for the characters mood swings and flips in beliefs to reflect some sort of intended tone in the novel, or to make some deeper meaningful point. If her thoughts are changing radically about her neighbor from day to day, this might be ironic but it might also inadvertently lend us some insight on her neighbor or humanity in general. This might make your MC appear charming (she accidentally stumbles onto something deep), profound, or even prophetic.

    2. Psychotic: The farther your MC delves from reality the harder you're going to have to work to keep her someone in touch with humanity, and as a result the audience. Still, you might at one point have the character admit the foolishness of her thoughts, perhaps even try to fight them, before succumbing (more on this later). If we see the character's reactions to her own insanity, not only does it seem more realistic, but we feel like we're spiraling with her, which creates rapport. If we think pendulum, at some points she is horrified by her illusions, and at others she is completely absorbed by them.

    3. Misanthrope. There are a million likable misanthrope characters. You can have her supposed dislike for humans expose some weakness of her own. Maybe she doesn't like people because of their selfish qualities. Maybe she's secretly longing for human connection. Maybe she's just fooling herself. This is a great thing to pendulum. Sometimes she has no faith at all in humanity, and at others we see her trying, maybe even once saying something great about people because of some random event.

    There are additional avenues to pursue to make the death sad and surprising. You've got to play with idea that the MC can be saved. Maybe she realizes she needs help. Maybe she realizes her views on people are skewed. The trick here is to never give it up entirely. She almost seems like she might be saved, several times throughout the novel even, but we never quite get there. We're waiting for the moment she gets better. Maybe you even go so far as to foreshadow her salvation. At the same time you're setting her up to be saved, but you're also discretely setting it up for her to die. And then, just when we think she's going to climb out her holeBAM she's dead.

    That's the advantage to insanity. There's no rhyme or reason we sane people can understand. You can use her instability to toy with our own emotions and expectations. You can swing back and forth and enthrall your readers.

    That's one way. Another way is to take her psychosis into your own hands. Teach your readers how her insanity worked as if it were sane. She has rules that make sense to her, if to no one else, and there's a whole world of madness completely coherent in her eyes. This is also something that can be seductive, because we're seeing this completely different and absurd reality that from some twisted perspective makes perfect sense. At that point, you got to either make your reader feel 'she's starting to recognize the fallacies of her own world and rules. She can be saved.', 'her world is harmless and special', or even 'she's onto something here.' If her world of madness just sucks, her death won't be sad. But if its special, and we want to see more of it, or if its a challenge she seems to be overcoming, her death will be both shocking and sad, especially if in her own deluded reality she doesn't even see it coming.

    Best of luck.
     
  4. jazzabel
    Offline

    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2012
    Messages:
    4,273
    Likes Received:
    1,666
    I would make her fall in love despite being so awkward and just as the love blossoms, as she feels the emotions and trust and happiness for the first time in years... zap! She dead :D
     
  5. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Let the readers get to know her. She may be insane, she may be misanthropic, but perhaps she has a wild, fun sense of humor, or a sharp, cynical wit, Maybe she's highly creative, but has been frustrated by those around her. She may be lonely and vulnerable, so she puts forth a prickly facade to keep from getting hurt.

    Get the readers to know the PERSON inside the beast, so they care what happens to her.
     
  6. Kestrel
    Offline

    Kestrel Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2012
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    0
    Maybe readers would be more sympathetic towards her if the circumstances that made her insane etc. were not her fault. Perhaps she was the victim of abuse, maybe she's seen or experienced things that broke her mind. If she started out as a normal or innocent person and was simply the victim of fate or the object of cruel treatment, we may feel for her when she meets her end, seeing her as a victim of circumstance rather than a villain.
     
  7. marcuslam
    Offline

    marcuslam Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2012
    Messages:
    124
    Likes Received:
    3
    I agree with Kestrel. Make her sympathetic by showing why she became insane. Also, take advantage of those times when she is acting human. I would aim to make her likeable during those moments. Have fun!
     
  8. Whirlwind
    Offline

    Whirlwind Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2011
    Messages:
    38
    Likes Received:
    1
    watch TERMS OF ENDEARMENT - get the children involved.
     
  9. Shpob
    Offline

    Shpob New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2011
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    If she's the main character, then I assume you're doing all you can to make us connect with her on some level anyway.
    That's easy if she's likable. If she's not...well, that sounds quite difficult, so cheers to you if you can do it :)
    When she dies, of course the tears will come. If we've already connected to her.
     
  10. RageAgainst
    Offline

    RageAgainst Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2012
    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yep pretty much you just have to make the readers feel a connection to her. One of my saddest moments while reading was about a female main character who had a really bad time through out the whole series, but i kept thinking it would be happy ending for her but she died sacrificing herself for a character i didnt like at all. That was sad and quite fustrating.
     

Share This Page