1. Annihilation
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    Annihilation Active Member

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    Which rout should I take on character's death?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Annihilation, Dec 8, 2015.

    Well basically this is what happens: a boy gets captured towards the beginning of the book and throughout the rest of it, his parents think he is dead and learn to cope. But then during the climax in the middle of the story, the boy is revealed to be alive right before dying horribly in front of his parents.

    Now I have chosen two options to do.

    Option 1: the boy is revealed to be alive to the reader but not to the parents yet. So this means I have to write about his life being captured and what he goes through while captive all the way to his ultimate death.

    Option 2: the boy is not revealed to the parents or the reader and everyone thinks he is dead or left wondering until he is revealed but imidiately killed in front of everyone.

    I want to make a very horrible scene to make the antagonist even more hated so that's why I want him to be revealed alive and well then killed horribly. Also, I was thinking of killing the parents in that scene too because basically that part of the story is supposed to be where everything ends and in the next part a different problem occurs with the other MCs.

    Note that the boy and the parents are MCs but it shifts to two other MCs throughout the story and all characters meet in this scene (which is the only scene they meet)

    What are your thoughts on this?
     
  2. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you take option 2, then you need to be careful that your readers don't think that you've misled them. E.g. keep the POV very close to the parents believe that he's dead. If you give omniscient narration that suggests that he's dead, and he's found to be alive, then that could make the reader think that they've been cheated. IMHO.
     
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  3. AlexJames
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    AlexJames Member

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    My instinct would be to go for the second one, since it makes the reveal that much more impactful for the reader. However it is indeed important that you're careful with your narration.
     
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  4. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'd go with the first. If the reader knows the boy is alive, they'll build a bond with him. They'll root for him to finally make it to his parents and see them reunited and happy. Add to that the parents POV, where they miss their son and mourne his loss, it'll only add to the reader's desire to see them reunited. Then to have it snatched away? Heartbreaking. Plus, the reader will care more about this boy dying if they know him first. Otherwise, he's just a stranger, known only by the memories his parents have of him.

    It reminds me of the red wedding scene in GoT. Arya spends the entire season traveling with the Hound to find her mother and brother. And as soon as she shows up, they're all killed. We had grown to love all of them, so we could feel the despair Arya felt. It was very impactful. Not entirely the same as yours, but similar.
     
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  5. Annihilation
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    Annihilation Active Member

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    Oh yes, it reminded me of the red wedding too when I thought of it. I feel that both approaches are powerful but I agree with you that it would be more saddening and effective to the reader if there was some hope left with the family. Thank you very much.
     
  6. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I think it's important to decide for yourself what you want the impact to be on the reader. All of the above comments have made good points. However, whichever route you take, you need to decide what you want to happen to the reader.

    If the reader knows the boy is alive from the start, the reader won't be surprised when he's revealed at the end ...however, the reader may well be very surprised (and maybe not very happy) when the boy is then killed. The reader's reaction will depend on how you handle the boy. If the boy becomes a POV character (calling him a main character is not the same thing) then we will have spent time inside his head, and probably his death will be more upsetting, and a little bit more difficult for the writer to handle.

    Yes, you will probably need to go into detail about what the boy experienced during the kidnapping phase, if the reader is aware he's alive all along, but if the boy is not a POV character it will be easier to write what happened to him during the 'hidden' phase. He may be a likeable character and his eventual death may be upsetting, but not as much as if we've experienced part of the story through his eyes.

    If the reader does not know the boy is alive till the end of the story when he is killed, then our reaction to that will depend entirely on the reaction of your POV characters—presumably the parents. The reader will only have the parents' point of view to go on, so whatever they feel—surprise, shock, grief, rage—your readers will also feel. This is probably the easier of the two options to write. As long as you make his reappearance plausible, you won't have to spend time with the kidnappers, or explain the boy's day-to-day existence before he is revealed and then killed.

    Just decide what effect you want this to have on the reader, and that should help you make up your mind.
     
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  7. Annihilation
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    Annihilation Active Member

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    This was very helpful information. Thank you! I'm very excited to write this.
     
  8. Annihilation
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    Annihilation Active Member

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    But I have a question. When you say POV character, that means revealing his thoughts, insecurities, fears ect right? Because I've done plenty of that so far along with a few flashback scenes from earlier times with his parents.
     
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  9. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    It's just that if he's the point of view character, we will spend time seeing things from ...his point of view. In other words, from inside his head. It means the readers will identify with him, and that might make writing his death a bit tricky. But it will also have more impact.

    There isn't anything you can't do, when you're writing a story. But everything you do will have an impact on how the story 'reads' and what your readers will experience as they read it. If you make your readers experience what this poor boy is experiencing, then his death will be doubly shocking and probably more upsetting than if he was just an important character we've only seen from the outside. (Readers don't usually expect a POV character to be killed off.) If that's the effect you want, then go for it.
     
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  10. Annihilation
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    Annihilation Active Member

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    Thank you very much!
     

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