1. highwaymanlee
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    highwaymanlee Active Member

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    should i kill of the main character's best friend or his stster

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by highwaymanlee, Dec 15, 2011.

    im having trouble in a story im writing i need to know if it would be a good ideal to kill of either my main characters best friend or his sister
    his best friend is a big guy and one of his greatest military generals where as his sister is a healer( people blessed by the gods with the ability to heal through touch) both will be devastating to my main character but i cant figure out which one it would be.


    p.s. this story is set in a dark age type world and healing is the only magic
     
  2. Baba Yaga
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    Baba Yaga Member

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    Both of them. Who needs plot armor? Fatally wound the general and then kill the sister as the general finally reaches her for treatment. Mega- tragedy.

    Then again , I guess it depends on where you need the rest of the story to go.
     
  3. highwaymanlee
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    highwaymanlee Active Member

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    i have to have one of them live if only for the emotional stability of the main character
     
  4. Rumwriter
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    Rumwriter Active Member

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    Well, depending on which one you kill off, the rest of your story will change accordingly. It isn't so simple as to say "I know how I want to the story to go, I just need to know which character to kill," because really, depending on which character lives and which dies should have a different impact on your story -- especially because you are saying that they have different abilities. Consider how a character living or dying will affect the rest of the plot. If the sister dies, she can't heal anymore, and maybe more people die. If the friend dies, maybe they are constantly losing battles and have to keep retreating. Those are just examples to show what I mean. This decision should effect your plot as well as your character, and better yet, effect your plot THROUGH your character. I know it's frustrating to have to choose, and it would be nice if we could just tell you, but ultimately, you're the one who will have to decide.
     
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  5. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you don't know who is dying then it doesn't sound like you know your story well enough. If and when someone needs to die you will automatically know who it will be and the reason for their death (why it needs to happen and the effects this will have on the rest of the plot/cast). Only kill off characters when it's absolutely essential to the progression of the plot.
     
  6. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    ^^^This!
     
  7. highwaymanlee
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    highwaymanlee Active Member

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    the way my story is going its at a point where one of the two has to die its unavoidable and it is essential for the plot
     
  8. UnknownBearing
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    UnknownBearing Contributing Member

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    I vote for both.

    Seriously, you're molding your story. You decide, someone has to die, and then you pick characters who can die. Clearly, if both of these characters are able to die, you haven't written anything for them and are useless to the plot development. If you can't think of anything to make the characters have any further worthwhile impact on the main character they would both best be served by dying and causing severe personality change to the character.

    If you kill one, what are you going to do with the other? That's my point. When I decide a character has exhausted his or her influence on the story, I decide how their exit will best serve the plot. It's not always just killing them off because that gets old and cheap.
     
  9. naturemage
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    naturemage Active Member

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    Personally, and this is just from a slight irony POV, if you kill if the sister (healer) off, that would create a lot of stuff between the main character and the best friend. How ironic that the healer would be killed off, and when it happens, the main character needs healing. That's just my opinion. Not to mention the blood relation.
     
  10. DeAnnaClaudette
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    DeAnnaClaudette Member

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    You've gotten a lot of advice from a plot/character development point of view. So, I guess I'll comment from the point of view of the reader, a little bit.

    For me, I love healers. I used to play MMORPG's on a regular basis, and well... I was always the healer. lol. Now, most people who read your story won't have a very personal connection to the healing angle, so I will just put that aside... The loss of his sister would be devastating for a myriad of reasons, he is losing someone he has either known his entire life, or her entire life. Maybe he'll feel guilt for not being able to protect her, and then, you also have the element of him losing his healer - I don't recall if you said she is the ONLY healer, but maybe she is the most powerful? - Anyway, sometimes having a healer in a story is too much of a "get out of jail free" card in that, if someone gets hurt, the healer is there to save and/or resurrect them, which takes away a bit of the suspense and danger. I see his sister dying having a more crippling effect, and as a reader, I would feel an extra layer of suspense from that point on - unless, of course, that healer is replaceable. (I don't know how your magic works in your book, so a lot of this is just how I imagine one heals)

    My feelings on killing off "one of his greatest military generals" wouldn't have nearly the same effect as killing off his sister. He has at least one other great military general to lean on, and perhaps there is another general-to-be ready to rise up the ranks, or show his stuff.

    So, how tragic and devastating of an effect would you like to have on the rest of the story? IMO, the hardest hit would be killing his sister off - based on the info I have.

    JMO!
     
  11. UnknownBearing
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    UnknownBearing Contributing Member

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    The only problem here is that pegging the healer for a death sentence is the obvious ploy. Healers in any story almost always exist more as a resource than as an actual character. Healers will be killed because that puts the rest of the characters in a desperate situation. If you're going to kill the sister you need to write a way around this cliche.
     
  12. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    I personally never kill off anyone just in case they might need to turn up in another story or I might change my ideas 10 years down the line about a particular story.
    Your ideas are never constant about anything you write.
    Imagine onemorning you wake and you decide in fact you have changed your mind about that story and you would wish you did not kill anyone off?
    It is better to leave you options opened just in case there is a change of mind anytime anywhere anyhow.
    That is my position on the matter.
    Do no limit yourself.
     
  13. Ettina
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    Ettina Active Member

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    I'd say to decide based on who seems most likely to die given the situation. It'll add some realism. It sounds like either death can work for your plot, so don't base which one dies on the plot, but on their realistic probability of surviving. It bugs me when certain characters seem virtually immortal because the writer won't let them die unless it serves the plot, while other characters die very easily (for example redshirts versus major characters).
     
  14. DeAnnaClaudette
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    DeAnnaClaudette Member

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    Well, the more we talk about it the more it seems like it doesn't matter who he kills off. :p Of course, my thought is that she is the only healer and that it's a character that has been around for a while. But, it's no way to know without knowing more about the story.
     
  15. highwaymanlee
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    highwaymanlee Active Member

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    there are more healers but she is near to his heart and is the only one who is trying to keep him in the gods favor( if the gods have something against you, you cant be healed) she does this because he only worships the god of war and doesn't even give tribute to the other gods and goddesses so shes trying to keep him out of divine trouble i guess you would say.
     
  16. DeAnnaClaudette
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    DeAnnaClaudette Member

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    At this point, do you think you have a better idea of who you will kill off. I sort of liked the idea of both of them being killed off at some point, but you know the story better than we do.
     
  17. Monosmith
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    Monosmith Member

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    You know your own story. I posted a failed thread trying to discuss this point, but ultimately the point is so simple that there's little to discuss. If you don't know which character to kill off, try to understand your story better.

    Obviously, I can't tell you who to kill off and I never could, even if I read the entire finished product (barring the possibility that the choice is far more obvious than you let on and you make a very bad writing call), because I'm going to assume that you took it in the direction it had to go.

    However, in order to help you, I can suggest a few question you can ask your self:

    1. "What is the central theme of the story?"
    2. "What is the narrative purpose of this event and how does it contribute to the power of the theme?"
    3. "Which character has more of a story to tell yet?"
    4. "What does the reader want, if it matters?"
    5. "What do I want?"
    6. "What does my story want?"
    7. "How do I subconsciously feel about this?"
    8. "What subconscious assumptions have I made about this?"

    I hope one or more of these questions can help you make a decision that satisfies you.

    Monosmith
     
  18. highwaymanlee
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    highwaymanlee Active Member

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    1.his journy to give glory to the god of war
    2. its purpose is to create a hatred of the seven kingdoms (a collection of kingdoms on one side of the Continent, though the seven kingdoms hate eachother he looks at them as one kingdom)
    3. the sister has an Emotional connection to him where as the friend has a military connection to him, but i think the sister has more of a story to her
    4.im not sure this is my first time with this genre
    5. im on the fence
    6.i think it wants the friend to die
    7. im on the fence about that to
    8. alot but im not sure wich one should die
     
  19. Mr. Rugs
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    Mr. Rugs New Member

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    This dosen't answer your question of which one should die, but I think it would be a good idea to have the main character chose between the two. It's a little bit of a cliche, but they use cliches for a reason.
     
  20. need to write
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    need to write Member

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    avoiding all cliches make a story feel flat and unrealistic because the audiance has come to expect that it happen. cowincerdances never happen in stories so it also has to be well planned out.
     
  21. Ross M Kitson
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    Ross M Kitson Member

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    So much advice already that I expect you've made up your mind. Either choice should be critical to your plot and depend where you want your MC to develop towards. Throw in an argument prior to death to maximise angst. Not always predictable to kill a MC- although mentors typically bite the dust in all genres. Could do a Game of Thrones and kill your MC- threw me for a six when I read that one.
    If you have to choose then keep the healer. Healers are like those dudes in red in the original Star Trek or indeed anyone with glasses in a Hollywood action movie... they always snuff it.
     
  22. cologirl42
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    cologirl42 New Member

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    Maybe the author should believe the person died, (he never actually saw the body) then you could bring him back if you change your mind or the direction of the story.
     
  23. highwaymanlee
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    highwaymanlee Active Member

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    no im still on the fence about who should die. though i am leaning toward the friend being the one to die. and i do like your idea of having them get into a argument and i think thats probably what ill have happen.
     
  24. highwaymanlee
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    highwaymanlee Active Member

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    that might work but im thinking either they die in a battle that they lose or to an assassin so i =m not sure how believable that would be.
     
  25. Aaron McMahan
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    Aaron McMahan New Member

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    A writer must be careful when devastating a protagonist. The reader should form a bond with the lead character that lats from early in the story until the end. It would be a good idea to "kill off the friend" by making the reason an an honorable/extraordinary way. Example: giving his/her life for the protagonists sake. Hope it helps.
     

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