1. Annihilation
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    Annihilation Active Member

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    Red wedding type of scene

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Annihilation, Nov 22, 2015.

    Well I'm here with yet another question about my story.

    There's going to be a dramatic war scene in my next chapter (which is the only action scene in the whole story so far) and I'm trying to get some tips on how to make it affective and just tear jerking/upsetting.

    Basically one of my mc's gets killed in front of his parents and the main antagonist dies as well.

    I want it to be somewhat similar to the red wedding scene (emotional wise) or too far gone in the walking dead because it's going to leave every character hopeless.

    How would this scene be most affective to the reader?
     
  2. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    That can only be done prior to the scene itself.
    People cared that the Starks died because 1) they thought they were safe; 2) Because it was totally unexpected (We expected a happy wedding); 3) People genuinely cared about the characters involved.
    All of this build up came far before the actual red wedding.
    So, it won't work at all if you just do it without the proper build up.
     
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  3. Annihilation
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    Annihilation Active Member

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    I have flashbacks about the son's life and his thoughts before he got captured (going back to when he was a child) and there is plenty of sympathetic and understanding scenes with him, but what else would you suggest or urge? Because I can always go back and edit scenes.
     
  4. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    I am confused by the term "The" in the sentence about the red wedding.

    I assumed you were talking about a massacre at a wedding, because well, the context. As well as it is easy to connect red to blood in this context.

    I agree with AMP.

    You don't open with this type of scene for a reason. Simply put if we don't care then well no emotions are scene.

    Though, I disagree on the unexpected line. The way you set up and execute the scene depends completely on the emotions you are looking for.

    In one of my works. There is a red wedding moment. Yet it is established as a plan nearly 10k before the scene happens. Which in my case I think works. Because the MC is racing to stop it. So seeing the wedding being set up, or character you should like by this point in the book preparing for a wedding you knew is a trap, and they don't all the while the injured MC is racing home to warn them? I think this works well.

    Yeah, you lose shock value. But I think I trade it in for some good suspense. lol.

    Another thing to think. Is the goal the sorrow of the lose? Or the desire for an eventual revenge? Because again this changes the approach. If you want me to hate the killer, you are going to want to play that part of him up more. But if it is more a sad scene then you play up different things. So I think it is more about what you want out of the scene.
     
  5. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    @GuardianWynn
    The Red Wedding is a specific scene from Game of Thrones that most people flipped tables over.
    And yeah, the name rather gives it away.
     
  6. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ah. I see. That explains the use of "the"

    Not sure if the opening post is looking for the same emotional reaction as that reference but considering I am not sure what The Game of Thrones is(Guessing a new movie series?) I guess I am not sure if my advice is all that useful.

    Sorry opening poster!
     
  7. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    I'd be wary of a red wedding type of scene. When that popped up at the end of season two or three of GOT's it really shattered my enjoyment of the entire season. And yes, it's because I was invested in the Starks. They seemed to be the best of a bad bunch - the main good guys. And then suddenly they're dead and it felt to me as though the entire story had died.

    I think if you kill off your main antagonist and your MC you risk making a premature end to your story.

    Think of Babylon Five and the way it ended with the shadows and the vorlons leaving. Natural end to the series. Then they tried to do a reboot using another subservient race the Drax and got nowhere. The reason? Because the big bad was gone. The story was ended. And it was hard to make a second string character suddenly become the new uber enemy. It just wasn't convincing. I mean most people were probably like me going "You beat the shadows, now their slave race is beating you up? WTF?"

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  8. Annihilation
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    Annihilation Active Member

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    See, but isn't it typical to have everything come to a climax in the end? I already have a very thought out plan for the rest of the story. I plan on ending the current arc with this scene but I want to know though, what would make it more effective/emotional?
     
  9. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    I haven't read past the first novel; it just didn't grab me, largely because of my dislike of this type of medieval-stasis fantasy, but partly because the attempts to subvert the reader's expectations started to feel like show-boating and a little contrived. It began to irk me.

    I have had a similar reaction to the series; the shock value of unforeseen deaths has now grown tired and I reacted with a shrug and a "pfff" when the last major death occurred.

    The red wedding scene (that title in itself is a huge spoiler) actually had much less visceral and emotional impact on me than the Jaime Lanister scene in the same series (the hand). That, for me, was a better constructed scene and a more unexpected about-turn. The red wedding just happened, and some tediously "too-righteous-to-survive" characters got killed off. Yawn.

    Don't get me wrong, it did not switch me off the series, but when anything is over-used it grows tiresome. The unexpected deaths in the likes of the Walking Dead and Game of Thrones is great for a limited run. But, taking The Walking Dead as an example, it has become a tediously drawn-out serial, and because you can't have any investment in the characters it doesn't even work as a soap opera.

    Which is a very long-winded way of saying that emotional weight in these scenes lessens the more they are used. If you want to create a tear-jerker it needs to be a stand-alone event.

    I would also try to avoid emotional manipulation; when a character no-one gave two hoots about is suddenly given emotional weight, a character, hopes and dreams, just to extract tears from the reader when they die at the end of the chapter. That comes over as lazy and manipulative.

    But personally I agree with @A.M.P. The reader needs to care about the character in order to care about their death.
     
  10. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    I can only speak to how the Red Wedding played out in the TV series but I hear it's similar in the novel. The big thing is actually the lack of foreshadowing. That doesn't mean that Walder Frey didn't have the proper motivation, just that we weren't set up to see the wedding as a trap until they actually got there.

    So, make sure we care about the characters, and make sure that the motivations for the death are all there so that it makes sense in hindsight. But don't foreshadow the death with a sense of foreboding in the chapters leading up to it (maybe hand the sequence to an alpha reader and see if they pick up that the guy is about to get killed from the tone of the writing).

    You might also take this as a chance to use a big fat red herring. Get the reader involved in some other big event being foreshadowed so that they don't realize what's about to happen and hence get surprised by it. Off hand I can think of two ways to do this depending on how your story progresses. The first would be to use all of your foreshadowing to point to some big event later in the plot after your death scene (which will end up happening differently than foreshadowed after a participant is brutally killed). That way you can fake out the reader because they aren't expecting a huge climax, because they haven't gotten to what they thought was the end point. I haven't actually done this, so if you try that route, see how readers like it and let us know how it goes.

    The second option, if the death does happen at the big climax moment you've been aiming at, would be to foreshadow the death of someone else who actually lives. You can build the sense of dread by foreshadowing the death of, say, one of the parents - dig a nice deep open grave - then shock the reader by throwing someone else into said grave at the last minute (I'm planning one of those eventually).

    So, in the first case you have a timeline-based red-herring, and in the second case you have a target-based red-herring. The commonality, of course, is the presence of a red-herring. Always remember that authors are stage magicians, and we often wave our free hand to distract people while we set up the trick in our sleeve.
     
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  11. Annihilation
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    Annihilation Active Member

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    This was very helpful information, thank you.
     
  12. sprirj
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    sprirj Contributing Member

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    If fantasy is not your bag, then you may not of heard of it. Game of thrones is a tv series based on a series of fantasy novels. A bit like Lord of the rings. It's quite 'grown up' and the to series is 18 rated
     

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