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  1. Whitney Nixon

    Whitney Nixon New Member

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    Grim Reaper

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Whitney Nixon, Oct 2, 2019.

    The idea is for one of my main characters to be a grim reaper. Not the Grim Reaper, but a grim reaper because there are more than one. However, I initially wanted him/her to be alive, but with supernatural abilities. This is the part I am struggling with. What would be the purpose of a living grim reaper and how would it operate?
     
  2. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Have you read Mort, Reaper man, Soul music and so forth by Terry Pratchett
     
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  3. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 HP: 10/190 Status: Confused Contributor

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    The trope of a living "shinigami" appears many, many times in modern Japanese fiction (aka manga and light novels). Sometimes they're humans with supernatural powers, sometimes they're demons, sometimes they're spirits.

    Invariably, they have some kind of reaping device, be it a scythe, a pair of scissors, a lawnmower or some other cutting implement that usually can't be seen by normal people, and they can see things other people can't.
     
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  4. Cdn Writer

    Cdn Writer Contributor Contributor

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    TRYING (!!!) to read Eric Flint's "Ring of Fire" series.......it's soooo many books!!!!!
    What about a character who helps terminally ill people move on? He's committing a murder, but it's a beneficial murder...?
     
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  5. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    You could also watch the show Dead Like Me, though they work on a
    numbers basis, so when they reach a set limit for each reaper, they get
    to pass into the afterlife. Kinda like a trial period before heaven or something. :)

    Or you could read the How To Be Dead trilogy by Dave Turner, its a Hor-Com. :)
     
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  6. Katibel

    Katibel Member

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    Hmm...if this "grim reaper" is animated, moving, thinking, and serving an important universal function, then it's sort of already alive, isn't it? I mean, we call creatures like zombies or vampires "undead," but they're still technically "alive," since they move and operate within the boundaries of life--they're just alive in a different way. Primarily, it seems there is something inside of their dead corporeal form that is alive, whether that's a virus or their living conscience. So, perhaps your grim reaper understands that true "death" is anti-existence, whereas bodily "death" is simply the transcendence of one's conscience to a new form of "living?" He recognizes that he is alive and made of different stuff related to a part of existence that is not tied to the same physical limitations as human bodies?

    [Edit: Ah, and thus also understands that his job is to ferry consciences to their new life. Otherwise maybe they hang around and get confused about what's going on and go crazy or something?]
     
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  7. Some Guy

    Some Guy Manguage Langler Supporter Contributor

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    Incarnations of Imortality, On A Pale Horse, by Piers Anthony

    Almost a literal match for a character, but yours is a cool different twist, which is fine. Have fun with it! :)
     
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  8. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Ex-Patriot Supporter Contributor

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    Second @Cave Troll's suggestion of Dead Like Me. A brilliant show, pity it was canceled.
     
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  9. LazyBear

    LazyBear Banned

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    In Ghostrider, the living person takes bad people's souls to hell.
    In Deathnote, the gods laugh while humans abuse the tool for own purposes.
     
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  10. Tom Never

    Tom Never New Member

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    I think there's more than that to it.
    "Living" that's a nice concept.
    It is often that we take Death as the opposite of Life instead of seeing it as an aspect of the latter.
    Because we cannot truly explore the other side, everything falls into the world of speculation: is Life existence and Death non-existence? Does that mean that Death is pure void? Or perhaps death is another kind of existence?
    A spirit (dead entity) could be animated, could be visible, could be tangible, could interact with characters and places. So, to be animated or not, won't draw the line between Life&Death. Is it a mere matter of being with our feet well planted on this ground or not? Are Life&Death just two different planes of existence?

    Your question about a Grim Reaper's purpose depends entirely on the background (the speculation) you choose.
    Of course, you don't have to say how things work between Life & Death, if you don't want to, but you ought to put down some structure.
    At least, you should just tell yourself how you envision this matter, for the story. Is it backed up by Judeo-Christian mythology? Or by any other system that you comprehend and are able to visualize?
    If this is not relevant to the story, because it's perhaps more focused on the lives of actual living people, then let's move on:

    "Living" grim reaper? You mean bond to the physical reality? A walking entity with jurisdiction over a certain area?
    A world with many Reapers, each one a deputy of his own sector. Living, mortals? They collect souls but do not interact with the world beyond?
    Maybe one of them, for whatever reason, trespasses its borders and the other reaper-guy doesn't appreciate it.

    Or perhaps a Grim Reaper as an entity, above Life & Death, it collects souls and delivers them. It puts all the harvest in a bag and then loses it on the metro.

    Also in ancient mythology, there was the figure of a psychopomp deity that guided the souls to the other world. That makes me think: a Reaper could be a simple harvester or a more personal guide that comes to pick you up and walks with you 'till your reach that undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns.
     
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  11. Some Guy

    Some Guy Manguage Langler Supporter Contributor

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    Or they're just weed-whackers for those of us past our sell-by date! :D
     
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  12. GrJs

    GrJs Active Member

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    Bleach, the anime, has the main character become a substitute Shinigami, like substitute teachers type of substitute cause he like, technically died but was still attached to his body via his soul chain or some such bs. But he gets pulled in to all the drama because of it. Soul Society's drama, that is.

    In the case of Bleach it's more due to his circumstance than anything Soul Society needs from him.

    But I'd take a look at Zombie Loan as it kinda has what you're looking for. Two high schoolers died in an accident but because ether didn't want to die they became zombies and do like, collection work for those about to die. Like debt collectors but the debt is your life.
     
  13. DarkPen14

    DarkPen14 Florida Man in Training Contributor

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    Perhaps this Grim Reaper had supernatural abilities to some degree their entire life, but after some accident or other brush with death, they're given the choice of death or service, whether they survive the accident hinges on their decision?

    As to a living Reaper's purpose... population control... question mark...

    Perhaps the dead are not permitted to remain on Earth for very long, which is why a technically dead Reaper can't solve whatever problems may occur as a result of dead people not going where they're supposed to go, and the reapers simply can't stay down here long enough to make headway, cuz they have to follow the rules, but a living reaper doesn't have that problem
     
  14. InsaneXade

    InsaneXade Member

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    I was going to suggest that excellent book. That is one of my faves! I love all the incarnations of immortality. I highly recommend that you read and learn from others before you really commit to writing. If you feel you don’t have time then make time. A great writer learns from studying published novels.

    If you think you are a perfect writer then I pity you, because, for one, no one is perfect, two, even teachers and elders can learn things from the younger generations, and three, there is always, always room for improvement in any craft. Even the greatest authors of our time learn something. Take J. K. Rowling, each book, from Philosopher's Stone to Deathly Hollows improves on the previous book. Goblet of Fire is arguably the one with the best plot. But even DH had an outstanding story, and of course, gave closure on the series.

    Do you think she sat on her laurels and didn’t study her craft? No, she mentioned in an article that she loved to read and study others. As Robbs, she expanded into other kinds of books. So, even the greats learn from others.

    I suggest you start with Rayne Hall’s writer’s craft. Then read Mary Buckham and Judy Renner. You’ll want to pay for a kindle subscription because you will pay a small fortune if you buy them outright. Make sure you read your preferred genre of book while you’re at it and pay attention to how they write and try not to get lost in the story, even if you need a second reading.

    Heck, right now I’m working on varying my sentence structure so I’m going back to basics and taking notes as a refresher. Even I take my own advice:p
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2019
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  15. Aceldama

    Aceldama free servant

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    That's an interesting statement. Anyway.

    To the OP, first thought that comes to mind is having the story sort of revolve over what constitutes someone being alive and what is death. The reaper is alive , but how alive can someone be who has to take lives? So he's alive physically but really dead.
     
  16. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 HP: 10/190 Status: Confused Contributor

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    I think Homer Simpson gets to be the Grim Reaper in one of the Treehouse of Horrors. :D
     

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