1. The Codex
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    The Codex Member

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    I've realised that 2/3 of my important characters all die in the end...

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by The Codex, Apr 7, 2013.

    (Warning, in this piece of text I was rushing as it's was vey late so my English will obviously not be perfect.)

    You're probably confused on what I mean, I'm writing a Fantasy Series right now and I'm hoping to see the universe I'd create become something more greater. But far to the point, I was plotting my series (3 books), how characters reunite, how they have their roles and e.c.t...
    Then I just realised that most of the Sub-main characters (Characters that are as important as the main but not equally focused on due to reasons) and that most of them die throughout the series, they're just mere sacrifices to push on the fight of the story taking place on a fantasy universe. The scene I'm at now is that 4/5 die and that scares the hell out of me, including the main character's death at the ending of the 1st series (Depending on how well these novels get on in the market).

    It's just scary and I want to try and maintain an happy ending for the series, not have the world... my world complete with emptiness.

    For example, I planned a character's sacrifice (Major spoilers!) where he dies in order to for the Orcs of this universe (the books) to gain back their beauty, and then all the orc troops will be added as support for the war. Of course, you ould ask why and how they got cured which is precisely why I handled the plots and not the mapping ass it's the 3rd instalment of the series. That's just one of characters I guess but that's one empty seat.

    I don't know what I'm asking, I felt like I need my concerns out and somehow you guys can see the issue. I can't just add a pack of new characters to enjoy their victory in the end, there's already too many personal characters tied to my MC and to add more seems to make it like my MC is a likeable guy when others question his state of Command.
    Hell, I got a Werewolf, a wizard, a young monk, MC's best friend, MC's other friend, MC's first lover, Battlemage, a vampire, a crazy historian and his grand daughter, MC's 2nd lover, and more than I can list. (The first book is a manner of recruiting for a suicide mission, since then there must be lots of character buiding, conflicts and relationship). All characters will seem mashed up now but I'll be encouraged to reveal the plots of my 1st novel later.

    Anyway, enough talk! Time for you to speak!
     
  2. stormr
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    stormr Member

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    well, I see your dilema. I kinda know what your going through, I had this big battle panned and as I was outlining it I realized I had to many supporting charcters die in it. So I started working more on the backstory of the characters and outlining them more, I then came up with a few twists that would eventually change most of the battle but save most of the people as well. Try getting more in touch with your characters, you have a great amopunt of them with special abilities, use that, you may have to re-write much of what happens, but add twists in there to save many of them. example: You have a wizard in there, he can summon magic forces to help someone, or possibly restore thier life, but at a cost, he can deal with that, a werewolf can bite someone to save them, or use against enemies, and a vampire maybe he can use his blood to restore helth to fallen soldiers or anyone who needs it, perhaps even turn a few in the process. With the kind of characters youve got there, just be creative, maybe watch a few movies about each charcter type and get some new ideas on that. Like i said though it might mean redoing a bit of stuff.
     
  3. squishytheduck
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    squishytheduck Senior Member

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    George r r Martin kills off main characters successfully, often in random, pointless ways, sometimes even offscreen.
    Advantage: that's life. Makes it more believable, brutal
    Disadvantage: readers are wary of getting too close to characters for fear they will suddenly die on them.

    Depends who your audience is and what they can handle. I'd go with the killing, see how betas respond.
     
  4. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    You want your deaths to be meaningful and purposeful - you say many characters die throughout the series. May I ask why? (You don't have to detail that on this thread, but it's something to think about) Are they dying because it's just "fun" and "exciting" or are they dying for a purpose that pushes the plot forward? Are their deaths - each and every one - absolutely essential? Does the death "complete" the character, so to speak? What I mean is - certain characters are great precisely because they died for something, take say, Gran Torino or Death Note (one's a Clint Eastwood Hollywood film and the other's a famous anime).

    If it serves the plot, then you have nothing to worry about because that's the only way it could happen.

    If it doesn't, then you should rethink it. If you're killing characters just to get rid of someone because it's easier to push the plot in the direction you'd planned, I would really advise you to think twice. I did that and now I'm plagued with doubts as to whether I wrote the right story, and beginning to see that the story would've been better had the character not died. Don't finish a whole book just to reach that point.

    Another thing to keep in mind is this - if you kill off characters in succession, your deaths will cease to have the impact that they should. It'd become the norm and no longer shock or shake your readers. I'd say death is one of those devices that you should use sparingly - it can be a powerful, poignant device when used well and wisely. Don't ruin a good thing.
     
  5. The Codex
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    The Codex Member

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    Ah... my thanks. So you're saying that as long my characters can serve a meaningful purpose in their deaths, make the books... more entitled to the readers. So following the example I'd give, He's a Elf specialised as BattleMage, is nearly a thousand years old and is very intelligent. His race (there are different races of elves) cursed the Orcs to what they came to be... brutal, foul and ugly and he was part of project as a team to curse them because of jealousy. But closing in the 3rd book, the World is invaded by entire armies of lifeless bodies covered in crystals, ordered and partly controlled by one of the Gods and their purpose is duly to destroy all life on that world if one certain group of people who had harnessed the ability to become Gods. You could say this is the God's fear of mortals who are to hold of such power to cast them out of the sky. While the leading Empire (controlled by one race=Human) is being crushed by them and holding out poorly, my MC and his characters there for him must travel all over each province, each realm and to seek out war support. This is when they arrived in the Orc's homeland for ground troops and basically the Orc chief said that they wanted a cure for the curse, to decay their ugly hides and turn to back to full beauty. Team found solution, use object to cure them but with a cost. The Battlemage simply took the place to be that sacrifice as he feel drawn to guilt of making them had centuries of living in that curse, the Orc cheered and pride the battlemage and promised their billions of troops. Of course, the plot is there but not the mapping as I'm certainly not at my 3rd book yet and halfway though my first.
     
  6. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    How about you just write one book at a time and save the characters you need for the second installment? If too many of your characers (and reader's favourites) are dying for the sake of dying you may lose readers. Like Mckk says, id their deaths actually mean something then fair enough, off with their heads but death for death's sake?
     
  7. The Codex
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    The Codex Member

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    Well, I have save some characters for the second novel of the series but in my first installment, It's a ride through a suicide mission, wouldn't make much sense if everyone survived the suicide mission and live to tell about it. Hmmmm.... I saved 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 out of 14, It's a lot but there are characters who can be a reader's fav. Just have to make their deaths more defining in and memorable.

    Oh and.. I'm definitely not writing all three at the same time, :)
     
  8. SuperVenom
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    SuperVenom Contributing Member

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    Be careful tho, if you building a universe outta this you wanna make sure you have some inhabitants for it :D
     
  9. The Codex
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    The Codex Member

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    I have more than I even need, such a fine example would be the City of carving structures filled by riches of gold and waterfalls falling upon the side of it. lol, not a detailed one but a brief one. Thanks guys! (and gals)
    :D
     
  10. Michael O
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    Michael O Contributing Member

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    I don't know........All that death for beauty? Kinda hard to take seriously with that cast of characters and most of them getting snuffed.
     
  11. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Just an opinion here, but while George RR Martin is certainly successful at killing off his characters, I don't think he's quite so successful at keeping all his readership.

    Of course there are many who love him, no matter what, but there are many, like me, who loved the story premise and original characters, but dropped off the branch after the third or fourth volume of this Eightogy (or however many books there are, in this saga/fantasy soap.) Reason? I got fed up investing interest in so many characters who didn't last the distance.

    Killing off Eddard Stark was a fabulous move, and set the whole story "Game" in motion. But after that, the death count rose to the extent that I no longer care who sits on that danged Throne! And I'm not alone. Read the Amazon reviews, if you don't believe me—from people who started out loving the series, and ended up quitting it after a few books.

    By all means, kill off your characters if you want, but do be aware that all your readers might not like that development. You may lose some of them in the process. Of course, do write the story you want to write, though. It'll be stronger for it, even if fewer readers stick around till the end.
     
  12. The Codex
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    The Codex Member

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    Yes Jannert thank you, You're right and I'm definitely keeping the werewolf guy with a deep sense of his violent history, the wizard, and the reptilian Assassin (Reptilian race off David Icke's harboured fantasies except this race is not cold-blooded and 5x times stronger than the average human).
     
  13. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I think a general rule to keep in mind, when killing off important characters, is that each death has to count. A lot.

    The more the readers have invested in a character, the more the character's death has to mean something or start something. You should never kill off an important character just to illustrate that the place they all live is violent, or the villain is horrible, or whatever. There are other ways to demonstrate these points.

    When you kill off an important character, the death should have a seismic effect on the plot. Shock is good, if used sparingly, but the good will wear thin if you use the device too often. Once readers believe their favourite characters are all going to be killed off—to no great purpose—many will jump ship.
     

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