1. Morlaf
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    Morlaf New Member

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    Setting > Characters

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Morlaf, Sep 2, 2016.

    I have been working on and off on a sci-fi novel(la).
    The reason it gets shelved and re-shelved and restarted is my doubts about the main char.
    The main character, which i spend several pages building him up dies half way through the book.
    Then there is no real character.
    Just the aftermath of a hideous alien on the planet, slowly but surely decimating the planet.
    Then something quite genious (in my somewhat biased opinion) and very appropriate happens that ceases the grimness and a (relative) calmness ensues.

    I think I build the character up too much - because he does do something questionable and you need to understand why. Or do you? It's sci-fi. does any1 care about the real nitty-gritty specifics of one man's rather strange action?
    Dunno.....
     
  2. christinacantwrite
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    christinacantwrite Member

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    imo you always need to understand why characters might do something, otherwise it's unbelievable and difficult to empathise with them. I don't like the idea of an MC dying half way through. What happens in the rest of the story? If I've grown to care about a character's journey I'm going to lose interest in the book if they die all of a sudden.
     
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  3. Francis de Aguilar
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    Francis de Aguilar Active Member

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    Yeah something needs to take over where the MC left off, some kind of incarnation, maybe the MC could go into a coma, or be resurrected somehow.
     
  4. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah.... I agree it's weird the MC dies halfway through. Then again, I don't like when MCs die before the story is over, ever. In the Divergent series,
    the MC Triss dies in the last book. The last couple chapters are told by someone else, who I never felt particularly connected to, and I was so mad, I almost quit reading right there before even finishing it.

    So I think if you're going to do it this way, you'll need a strong secondary character, who has POV chapters, that you can then switch to after the death. Without those POV chapters in advance though, the reader will likely not feel connected to them and not care to finish the story.

    But to answer your question, yes, I think you're doing the right thing by building him up. If a character dies, I want to understand them before it happens. I want to know why they make a certain decision that changes the course of the book.
     
  5. NigeTheHat
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    NigeTheHat Contributing Member Contributor

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    Building a character up is always worth it. It's what makes people care and keep reading.

    Much like everyone else here, it's the second half that feels a bit more of a push for me. Is the idea just to show a load of vignettes of the alien doing its decimating thing? That feels tough to keep interesting over a long period without some kind of feeling that it's all going somewhere. Not saying it's not possible, but... sounds hard.
     
  6. Morlaf
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    Morlaf New Member

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    yeah the death of the MC needs to addressed... thanks guys....
    He aint important to be honest......
    are there any novels you can suggest that are more about EVENTS that took place, with only a smattering of some characters' lives and how they were involved/affected.
    this aint, frankly, about a character but certain events........
     
  7. Scot
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    Scot Active Member

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    It all sounds a bit like when John Snow got killed off in Game of Thrones. Fortunately the author had no shortage of characters to take the story forward ... and forward ... and forward. God, will it ever end?
     
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  8. NigeTheHat
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    NigeTheHat Contributing Member Contributor

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    To be honest, none are springing to mind, because it's the characters that make events interesting, so they're what novels focus on. We experience the events through the characters, the effects on their lives are how we can relate to it.

    What you're describing feels more like a textbook about a fictional world, and I kinda feel like you'll struggle to make that good reading. Again: probably possible, but fucking hard.
     
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  9. Spencer1990
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    Spencer1990 Contributing Member

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    The problem with this is that people don't necessarily care about fictional events. People care about...people, characters (human or non-human). Characters are the driving force of fiction, they are what make us turn the page and continue reading. The reason for this is the emotion that we invest into the main character/s of a well-written book. We want someone to root for, someone to dislike. We want to engage with a story that shows us someone going through something and either winning or losing.

    That being said, I'm not going to tell you this is a bad idea. If you want to write it, write it. But when you finish it without any engaging characters and then there's a feeling in your gut like something's missing, it's characters. Just be aware that there's a reason for books written with main characters instead of main events in the center stage.
     
  10. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    He's usually called the Main Character because he IS important.

    Killing him off midway through is, as @Scot says, a bit like Game of Thrones, except that GRRM always has plenty of other MCs lined up in the wings to take over.
     
  11. Morlaf
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    Morlaf New Member

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    I'm re-tweaking him. the MC is staying alive and he is gonna have a (minor) role in fixing up the world again @ the end.....
    thank you all!
     
  12. karldots92
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    karldots92 Active Member

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    This is what turned me off Game of Thrones. I got fed up in investing in a character only for him to die. I got as far as the fourth book and was just like "sod this". I know that its more realistic as this is what happened during the real war of the roses but that's fine for a history book for a fantasy novel you just want to escape into the MC. You want to be the MC and see where the story takes you. You can't do that if you know your death is imminent.
     
  13. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Go on! Live life on the edge!
     
  14. karldots92
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    karldots92 Active Member

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    Oh I do, I'm a real edge-liver me, I swear :p. What I mean is that if the characters death is inevitable, as it seems to be with most of GRRMs characters its very hard to invest in the character. He's going to die anyway so what's the point. I much prefer situations where the character almost dies but then miraculously survives against the odds. Makes for a much more rewarding read. But then that's just me.
     
  15. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    My wife suggested that GRRM writes by dice; roll a six and Jamie Lanister dies, five and it's Rob Stark's turn, four and it's Jon Snow...
     
  16. karldots92
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    karldots92 Active Member

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    He probably uses a D20. Looks like a hardened D&D player
     
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  17. hawls
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    hawls Active Member

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    Sci-fi fans usually.
     
  18. Safety Turtle
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    Safety Turtle Senior Member

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    Would having a second MC be a big problem?
    It may even reinforce the grief of the death of one MC if the reader experienced it through another.
     
  19. xanadu
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    xanadu Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't see why this wouldn't work. Stories can certainly have multiple POV characters, and as long as the second MC isn't coming out of nowhere and has had time to be developed, there should be no reason why a reader would reject him or her.

    At the risk of mildly spoiling, I immediately think of McCarthy's No Country For Old Men.
     

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