1. katina

    katina Senior Member

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    how many characters have you killed off so far?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by katina, Nov 26, 2018.

    And have you ever regretted it a character or two afterwards because perhaps the plot/story
    would have been better with them in it?
    Or maybe regrets was for a different reason related to the story?
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2018
  2. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Contributor Contributor

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    My novels normally have a lot of conflict (post apocalyptic, epic fantasy with both small and large-scale battles, military SF, etc.), so quite a few characters die in the process of the stories being told.

    I've not regretted it. It works for the setting and the story, and each death has a purpose in moving the tale forward. Just because the characters are gone, does not mean they don't have lingering impact/influence in the story moving forward, especially if those killed were important to the characters that survived.
     
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  3. LazyBear

    LazyBear Member Supporter

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    I tried killing off some side characters, but it didn't work well because the fear of death is more valuable for drama than death itself. Funerals tend to derail the story and expose flaws in the character arcs when everyone's supposed to be emotional.

    I'd only kill off main characters if it's to remind the reader that they can die when facing danger, so in act three or after several books.
     
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  4. Nariac

    Nariac Senior Member

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    I kill off a few side characters, but only one main character. You usually don't have to go full Game of Thrones and kill people right left and centre. Killing one is as good as killing five. One main character death will let the reader know that nobody has plot armour, anyone can die, and subsequent scenes will be that much more tense because of it.
     
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  5. katina

    katina Senior Member

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    Hi there Nariac.
    Why this only one main character? What was the reason?
     
  6. Night Herald

    Night Herald The Illustrated, Blind, Solid Silver Bitch Supporter Contributor

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    I don't know exactly. A fair number of secondary characters, countless tertiaries and bit players, and at least five assorted main characters/protagonists/POWs/
    narrators/heroes.

    I haven't regretted any of it, though sometimes I miss writing a character when they're no longer in the story.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2018
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  7. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll I'm in G-love with a Wonderful Lady. :) Contributor

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    Loads and loads of 'extras', and some in not so nice ways.

    Though I miss Rhino. :(
    Fun character, took a rail bolt to the guts after
    it went through another's head. Sad and messy
    stuff ya know.
     
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  8. Maggie May

    Maggie May Member

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    Number of characters killed: a few. I don't count them so I have not thought about it being important. Regrets, no.
     
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  9. cosmic lights

    cosmic lights Active Member

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    Though I tend to put my characters in dangerous settings where there is obvious conflict I tend to keep the core conflict within them (internal conflict) because that's where a story really is.

    I've killed off characters before. My current WIP focuses on a negative story arc which is worse than killing her off because I have to keep the audience rooting for her despise everything. Interesting question that I've never thought about much.

    I watched a TV show a few years ago where they killed off a major character and the audience lost their minds. They dragged this story line out for two years, this character desperately wanting and fighting to reunite with her birth mother, taking so many knocks and getting back up. Then, they gave her what she wanted for 2 seconds then had her die in that instant. The reaction was insane 11 million people complained to the channel. I thought as first; they did it right. There is no point in killing off a character for their death to be passed over. The reaction from the public meant they did their jobs as writers.
    Then when I re-watched the story I realized why people went mad. They made a promise and they didn't keep it. They killed of a character for the drama factor and ignored the fact they wouldn't give up what they had promised. Which lead to people being dissatisfied. The man who had worked so hard to keep mother and daughter apart had won' no matter what happened from this point on he had succeeded.

    So i think you should always be careful when killing off a character, because they weren't and it back fired.
     
  10. exweedfarmer

    exweedfarmer Contributor Contributor

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    In general I don't kill a lot of folks and in my current series death is not always fatal.
     
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  11. big soft moose

    big soft moose All killer, no filler. Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Bad guys too many to count - good guys 11 across the dusty miller series (7 books), god knows how many in Rapax , two in Alphas, none in Double Date/Double Trouble although one did lose an eye.

    No regrets
     
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  12. GlitterRain7

    GlitterRain7 Galaxy Girl Contributor

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    In my novel, I killed the three main characters. (In one chapter) Then I brought one back (not in the book, I just changed the ending and let him live).
    Total in that book: 5. More if you count what I have planned for books two and three but haven't wrote
    Never regretted any of those deaths. I just let the protagonist live because I got ideas for letting him live so then he had to come back.
     
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  13. Some Guy

    Some Guy People-thing Supporter

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    I am just now coming to the first in a line of prophetic deaths, one of which is fairly obvious, and two that might really piss readers off. They become part of the MC's spiritual guidance, and a life transition. I still don't want to do it. I didn't think I would fall in love with her, and he didn't either. They are part of an undercurrent, the beginning, and end, of a sad story. He will come to understand, but not without a lot of pain.
    Dammit! Why won't this story fucking leave me alone? :supercry:
     
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  14. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Digging out my Balzac Contributor

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    All of them.
     
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  15. DK3654

    DK3654 Almost a Productive Member of Society

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    The only character death Ive actually written so far is my MC Sarah’s mom, who dies just before the story actually starts, the story dealing with the aftermath of that. The death is more relevant than the person so no regrets there.
    I do have a few characters marked for death that we will actually see during the story. Hard to have any regrets about any of these when I could change plans in an instant. I have changed plans to save a character once so far.
    I have a few big betrayal moments as well, they compare roughly in emotional impact to a death.
     
  16. minstrel

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    The only significant death in my main WIP is that of the father of one of my MCs. His death is a major motivation to his son (no, not towards revenge. How do you get revenge on a Kodiak bear? Kill him all you want, but he'll never understand why you're doing it).

    There are deaths that take place in flashbacks to the earlier parts of my other MC's life, but they're pretty insignificant.

    I've never written any of those mass-killing scenes so many of you are fond of. My characters tend to not be warlike badasses. My stuff isn't endless rewrites of Rambo or anything, even though I understand the visceral appeal of them. So the body count in my stuff is pretty low, as these things go.
     
  17. DK3654

    DK3654 Almost a Productive Member of Society

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    "I WILL AVENGE YOOOOOOU!" plotlines are kinda overdone anyway, and tend to be a bit shallow I find. How does it motivate the character if not revenge?
     
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  18. Edward M. Grant

    Edward M. Grant Contributor Contributor

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    Also, frankly, it's been so overused as to be a cliche. Once upon a time, killing off a major character who the reader expected to survive was quite shocking. Now we just yawn and toss the book aside to read something else.

    As for me, I killed off all but a couple of dozen humans in the first chapter of one of my unfinished novels. Last novel I published, I think I killed off about a dozen significant characters, but none of the main ones.
     
  19. katina

    katina Senior Member

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    LOL tha'ts cruel :unsure: :p
     
  20. big soft moose

    big soft moose All killer, no filler. Contributor Community Volunteer

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    It really depends on what you are writing - if its a military thriller you can reasonably expect characters to get killed (think of the opening season of Saving Private Ryan) and if you only kill minor characters rather than 'cast' characters then readers will quickly become tired of it. On the other hand if its a romance its probably not necesary
     
  21. katina

    katina Senior Member

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    Have you a story where no character is killed of?
     
  22. katina

    katina Senior Member

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    :superhello::friend:
     
  23. Edward M. Grant

    Edward M. Grant Contributor Contributor

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    Just be careful how you do it. My girlfriend and I have great fun watching low-budget military movies:

    'Uh-oh, he just said he's getting married when they get back from this mission. Might as well have signed his death warrant.'
    'One token black guy in the team. Wonder how long he's going to last?'
     
  24. LadyErica

    LadyErica Member

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    I like weird stories, so my death counter so far is a bit hard to tell. The first character was the typical "bad guy redeems herself by sacrificing herself to save everyone". I liked it at the time, especially as it was my first "real" story. But in retrospect, I know it's a cliché. I still like it, but I know I could and should have done something more creative.

    Another book was about time travel, so even I don't know how many times the two MCs died. One had cancer, so her sister went back in time, got her to the doctor before the cancer spread, then killed herself to preserve the time line. Then the first one (now without cancer) went back in time to save her sister, then she killed herself, and so on. It got a bit messy. :D But in the end, both survived. Technically. :D

    So this time, I'm playing it safe. The main villain has already been dead around 300 years, so finger's crossed she's done dying. :D
     
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  25. big soft moose

    big soft moose All killer, no filler. Contributor Community Volunteer

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    No one dies in double date - but that's more of a private detectives behaving badly type story - there are a couple of fights and people get hospitalised, but no fatalities - unlike say Rapax which deals with a post apocalyptic civil war...
     
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