1. Bongo Mongo
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    Bongo Mongo Member

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    Is it acceptable to kill a child character?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Bongo Mongo, Mar 16, 2009.

  2. g1ng3rsnap9ed
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    g1ng3rsnap9ed Contributing Member

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    Yes. I always hate it in stories when the child character lives just for the fact that they are a child. Keep in mind that nasty things can happen to anyone and anybody, be it adult or child. I would just the same say not to kill the child for shock value, but in all honesty there are many cases where doing so can actually improve the story's edge.
     
  3. The Viendish One
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    The Viendish One Member

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    Stephen King did it. So can you.
     
  4. lilix morgan
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    lilix morgan Contributing Member

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    it's not bad or wrong to kill a child.
    think about it. do people always spare children in the real world? no, not a chance.
    as long as it's done right, you should be fine. it would be good, too, because it will capture the reader into feeling even more hate against whoever killed the child, innocent or not.
     
  5. Paki-Writing
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    Paki-Writing Member

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    *mouth open in shock"
     
  6. The Viendish One
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    The Viendish One Member

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    Ooh snap!
     
  7. wishyoucould
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    wishyoucould Member

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    yes yes yes yes. i hate it more than anything when characters in stories or novels live happily ever after (not to sound morbid) but i really love the idea of irony and death and because that really happens in the world to anyone, why not be real like that in your writing.
     
  8. Oasis Writer
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    Oasis Writer Contributing Member Contributor

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    This should be more your story idea than anyone else's. No matter what we say, you should have the final say about how your story progresses and how your story is completed. People will disagree about anything, and people will agree about those things we disagree on. What we have to say shouldn't shape your story. Otherwise, it's really our story instead of your story.

    My recommendation, if you do it, do it correctly. If you make a scene where a person dies, but you just go off and say, "Then the kid died. Yeah, sucks. He was killed. Back to the main point." You just wasted our time as reader, and your scene was ineffective and showed us nothing. Show us what happened and make it meaningful, don't tell us what happened and kind of breeze over it.

    In any which case though, it shouldn't matter. If it's in your story model, than do it.
     
  9. Den
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    Den Member

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    Hell, I do it for fun. :D

    Joking.

    It depends on the way it's done. Sometimes, when I see a child die, it irritates me because it was just about worthless and only served to show some kind of grotesque point. It decreases the value of the child, and to me, makes the story ugly.

    However, there has to be some kind of emotional and powerful message behind it. The death should also pose a noteworthy effect on the plot following it.

    There are always exceptions though.
     
  10. Mercurial
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    Mercurial Contributing Member Contributor

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    I prefer to see unfortunate endings rather than happy endings because, in real life, happy endings just arent usually that common. However... that doesnt give you an excuse to kill your character just for fun. There should be reason and meaning behind it.

    But this is YOUR writing. Of course it's acceptable! :)
     
  11. pacmansays
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    pacmansays Senior Member

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    If it works then I like it, if it's pointless then i don't....but i don't like this protective veil children have in fiction.....
     
  12. Ghosts in Latin
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    Ghosts in Latin Senior Member

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    Children have a protective veil in everything, it's only reasonable that, that is reflected in fiction. Not to say that, if a child comes into harm, you're a sicko — but the general status of children in fiction is reflective of that in real life.
     
  13. g1ng3rsnap9ed
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    I dunno, you hear about a lot of sick things happening to children on the media. I would also bet that if pitted against a monster, for example, a child would have a much smaller chance of survival than an adult. Like at the end of Mirrors, it was such crap! :mad:
     
  14. Benska
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    I would think you were a sicko if the "child" was a 12 month old baby, for example. Or anywhere around that age, really. If they were somewhere near 8 years old - low teens, I wouldn't find it so bad; as long as it was essential to the story.
     
  15. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    to me, it's not acceptable in fiction... but then, as many of you know, i don't approve of any violence in fiction...
     
  16. Dr. Doctor
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    Dr. Doctor Contributing Member

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    That's a bit of a double standard there, don't you think?

    I don't understand, no violence at all?
     
  17. Jiggy
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    Jiggy Member

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    You are missing out on about 97% of fiction then.
     
  18. Acglaphotis
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    Acglaphotis Contributing Member

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    Because of what a fictional character did to another fictional character?... Ok...
     
  19. g1ng3rsnap9ed
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    g1ng3rsnap9ed Contributing Member

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    I was thinking the same thing. I must be a real super-freak according to those standards. :rolleyes:
     
  20. Anthem
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    It's your writing, do what you want with. Don't limit yourself to morals, I say if you want to write a scene about a village of five year olds being torn apart by bigfoot. The point of writing to have an open canvas to do whatever upon and if you want to kill children on it then by all means do so. Moral deceny is not and should not be a factor a writer considers when writing. Now if your looking to get something published THEN it's a different story - acutally even then not really, I can go to Barnes and Nobles and buy something absouletly filthy like Naked Lunch now can't I?
     
  21. Kas
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    Kas Contributing Member

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    This seems like an odd question to me... children do die in fiction. Sometimes a likeable main character can actually be a child killer. Of course, it takes a very skillful writer to pull that off. It all depends on the situation. The story is what it is... I can't imagine changing a vital story element just to avoid upsetting the sqeamish. In my experience the best stories are often the ones that touch on something uncomfortable, as they tend to be more meaningful and insightful.

    I think that a lot of fiction, particularly fantasy, could benefit from a heavy dose of reality. In medieval times children died like flies. There were times and places where the average life expectancy was around 20-30 years, or even less, but you sure don't read about that very much... Obviously I don't relish the thought, but the less realistic a story is, the less I care about it. It's a double edged sword.

    In one of my favourite series, the story starts off with a very young boy being flung off a tower when he sees something he wasn't supposed to... The man who tried to kill him is set up as a villain, but eventually you come to understand him. He turns out to be one of the most likeable and honorable characters in the entire series. It was basically a split second choice of who would die... his own kids, or someone else's boy. If forced to make that choice, what would you choose?

    I got my sister to read this book and she actually cried when the boy fell. She left tear stains on the pages, lol. But it also got her hooked on the story. She *had* to know what happened next. When dangers are real, suddenly the story just comes to life in a special way. I tend to be somewhat apathetic when reading a new book since most writers just aren't daring enough to grab me. When I read that scene, it told me "this writer means business!" Hehe...

    Serious situations make for a much more interesting and emotionally engaging experience. Inserting something like this just for shock value isn't something I'd condone... but if a child death plays an important role in your story or character developement, I don't think it would be wise to change that... It could very well be one of the most gripping elements. Depends on how you tell it.
     
  22. Unsavory
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    Unsavory Active Member

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    I would simply advise that you only do what is necessary to enhance the story and don't get into any gratuitous violence or unnecessary detail if you're depicting a child's death. If you're going to make the decision to kill off a child character, it's going to take all your skill as a writer to pull it off in a way that improves the story and is as tasteful as possible. In the right circumstances, it can of course be effective writing, but if handled improperly it would be disastrous. I think it goes without saying that a graphic torturous murder scene is going to turn off 90% of the population.
     
  23. lilix morgan
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    lilix morgan Contributing Member

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    -blinks-
    Sorry if that offended anyone. I probably should have placed a disclaimer or something on that comment.
    But still, I stand by my comment. A real killer wouldn't spare a child. Why should your character? Unless they have just cause, like a hesitation or something, then I don't see why not.
     
  24. Jiggy
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    Jiggy Member

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    Or morals. Don't forget about morals. :rolleyes:
     
  25. Acglaphotis
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    Acglaphotis Contributing Member

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    If you're a real killer who cares about not getting caught, might as well kill the child and leave no witnesses.
     

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