1. Sonoran
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    Sonoran New Member

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    Young Adult Measuring Death

    Discussion in 'By the Genre' started by Sonoran, Jul 15, 2014.

    Hello fellow writers! Usually I can find solutions to my problems without me creating a new thread, but this
    time I guessed it was time to actually join the banter.

    Okay, so I've been working on a novel for the best part of the month now, and things are sailing smoothly.
    There is, however, something that's kept nagging at me, and it won't let go until I address it. Taking into consideration that YA is no stranger to death, my problem is that two characters die in the first four chapters. It's not their dying that keeps bothering me, but their dying so soon. True, they are not major characters, but minor ones whose deaths set the story into motion, and so they are important in this regard.

    So here's my question to you. Is there such a thing as a character dying too soon? Or do you think there should be a limit as to how many characters die? Using Deathly Hallows as an example, it would appear there's no such thing as a limit. Deathly Hallows, however, was preceded by six books, whose tone gradually became darker. Something tells me I should consider this aspect of the well-known series by Rowling.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    A major death occurs in my novel at the beginning of chapter one. It pretty much sets everything in motion.

    A character dying too soon, or the number of characters that die, depend on the story you're telling. Check out Shakespeare's tragedies. Almost everybody dies by the end of the last scene. The stage is littered with corpses and blood as the curtain comes down and the crowd cheers.
     
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  3. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    A lot of earlier fantasy books, or so I recall, used to have deaths of a loved one or an important figure happen very fast and set everything in motion.
    Nowadays, writers have zero respect for the sanctity of nameless or non-PoV background characters and just kill 'em off as needed :p
     
  4. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    How do other characters react to a particular character's death? Sometimes that's more important than the death itself (especially if the death happens early on). So keep that in mind, and kill off your characters whenever you want.
     
  5. Devlin Blake
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    Devlin Blake Member

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    Look at early Disney movies (which are based on fairy tales.) Notice who's missing at the start of all them? It's the mom. How traumatic is that for a kids movie? Two minutes into the movie and you know the mom is DEAD.

    In fiction, life is very cheap.
     
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  6. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    It's true that the MCs in question never seemed to miss their mums or even talk about them. Hail the conveniently dead parent!

    I think the only one that had mum in it was Lion King - for once it's the dad who dies and the death and grief and aftermath etc was actually explored. I think it's for that reason why Lion King's such a memorable movie. (part of the reason anyway, definitely) It's an unusually emotionally charged movie whose gravity is similar to the way the Japanese could do it. Quite special, really. For once it wasn't just a convenient death because we can't be bothered to think up a role for the parent, but the death of the parent is what the story is about and moves the story forward.

    Mulan also included the mother and neither parent dies, which is also unusual actually. The only other one I can think of is Tangled, but that's no longer "old", and Rapunzel's case is also traumatic and she would've actually had to deal with the death of a fictional father - I mean, what else was Gothel gonna say when the princess asked about dad?

    Anyway to the OP - as long as it makes sense within the story, I think it's fine. I mean, Spiderman's uncle died very early, and Eragon's uncle too. In the above mentioned Lion King, Mufasa dies about a third way into the film. In Frozen both parents die at the beginning of the film. On the whole, if it makes sense, you should be okay.
     
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  7. Poet of Gore
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    please don't use the damn metric system to measure death. that is alls i am saying. hey Mabel, i says
     
  8. Devlin Blake
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    Devlin Blake Member

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    @Mskk I don't' really consider Lion King or Mulan 'Early Disney', though I guess I'm showing my age there, and splitting hairs. Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, the Little Mermaid, and so on all had dead moms right from the start. Bambi started with a mom, but that was a very traumatizing death scene for a child.

    Rapunzel (Tangled) actually did have a mom; Mother Gothel, the witch. After all, Rapunzel called her 'mother' and as far as she knew growing up, the witch was her mother. In her case, you're right, the dad would have been the one she thought 'died'.
     

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