How to Kill Off a Female Character Without it Being Gratuitous?

Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Miranha-Pae, Feb 1, 2019.

  1. T.Trian

    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I mean, yes, absolutely. I was just using the broadest, most literal definition (i.e. the word literally comes from "involuntarily celibate") to cast a broader net rather than e.g. "a hateful, bigoted future mass murderer" because that excludes a lot of self-identified incels who are e.g. lonely, autistic, introverted, secluded social rejects who aren't necessarily particularly hostile but identify as incels because of its literal meaning, i.e. guys who want a girlfriend but can't get one because they're too socially inept (+ various other reasons).

    Sure, some of them are toxic losers who are essentially a waste of skin, but some are what the word denotes: guys who can't attract women and are miserable because of it. It's not exactly a tightly-knit, clearly defined group.


    I'm not sure I follow. Are you saying that just because demographic X commits more violent crimes on average, an individual from demographic X should receive a harsher sentence than an individual from demographic Y? That seems unjust.


    It's been a few years but I'm pretty sure it was this one:
    https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/2394531-marine-corps-force-integration-plan-summary.html
     
  2. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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  3. T.Trian

    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I linked the abstract (all I can access atm) just for reference so those interested know which study I was referring to.
     
  4. Bone2pick

    Bone2pick Senior Member

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    And? It's a perfectly reasonable choice to allow a loved one, as opposed to the maimed one, to bear the emotional pain of story. Jim's her father, he's allowed to be the focus. That might not be the choice that you agree with, but it's a sensible choice all the same.
    It is. I've rejected the presented logic of fridging, just as you have rejected the logic that fictional characters should be used however best serves the story, even if that means they are nothing more than plot devices. That's called a logical disagreement.
    I guess, but how is that relevant? Rarely can I think of time where I cared whether or not an author felt they hit their intended mark. If I love Holden Caufield from TCitR, what does it matter if Salinger felt he didn't hit his intended mark with that character?

    He's entitled to feel that way, but his feelings do nothing for me. They wouldn't alter my appreciation of the novel or the character in any way. Again, my judgements about a book's quality, the richness of its characters, the strength of its premise, etc, will never surrender to anyone else's judgements—including those of the author.
    No, it doesn't. Is this how you measure fiction, by how the author "feels" about it? How strange. If George Lucas felt like he "mishandled" Han in the original trilogy, who cares? Would anyone? None of the Stars Wars fans that I know. Personally speaking, I'd probably think George's mind was starting to go if he announced that.

    Btw, how far do you take this line of reasoning? What if Moore had stated that his handling of Babs in TKJ was perfectly on the mark, would that erase your complaints of how she was handled?
     
  5. Bone2pick

    Bone2pick Senior Member

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    There are objective quality levels of fiction? That's news to me. What exactly are those levels? If I give you ten well-known books to sort in terms of quality, and I give ten other people the same book list to sort, will your finished lists look the same? If not, why?

    Follow up questions: in terms of "acknowledging" a books quality, are you always right, or can you be wrong? And if you can be wrong, can you explain to me what occurs that lets you know when you are wrong. Is it the same process for everyone?
     
  6. Bone2pick

    Bone2pick Senior Member

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    Do you dismiss everyone who continues to disagree with your positions as being someone "determined to avoid/deny the issue? How convenient.
    Now that you mention it, I've never seen you change positions in a forum argument... Does that make you the "unpersuaded?"

    I wouldn't imagine you'll agree to that. You save your disparaging labels, vibes, and feelings for those you disagree with.
     
  7. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    [
    Using “involuntarily” when we’re talking about simply not having something seems to be a fairly clear twisting of meaning. It implies that someone is taking away something someone else is entitled to.

    I might call myself “involuntarily not-rich” or “involuntarily not-famous” or “involuntarily short” but I don’t. I’m just not rich and not famous and not tall.
     
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  8. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    My apologies. I didn’t mean so much to suggest that we return strictly to the poster’s original question in this thread, because I think that ship has indeed sailed. I just meant that discussions are so often focused on convincing those who are determined to be unconvinced, and as a result the nuances of a topic go un-discussed.

    What to call things is indeed one of those nuances, and I didn’t mean to suggest that it wasn’t.

    What DO you call the dehumanization of a character in one scene, if the writer seems, in other scenes, to belatedly recall that the character is a person? For example, the instance, in the TV Game of Thrones, of making the rape of Sansa Stark all about how it affected Theon, and pretty much not at all about Sansa? Sansa was depicted as a person before (sometimes) and after (somewhat more often), but in that scene not at all.
     
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  9. Fallow

    Fallow Banned

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    They become part of a group when they register and participate in a forum that promotes violence. You don't go to a neo-Nazi meeting for the love and support.

    No. I'm saying that when your demographics are so different you can't assume that crimes, personal histories, intent and rehabilitation are comparable. They might be - but chances are they are not, or the crime rate between the two groups would also be similar. Women, regardless of circumstance or background, do not commit many crimes for the same motivations as men, and motive is a major factor in sentencing.

    That article does not make any mention of the psychologically damaging effects on men of working with women in combat. In fact, the article explicitly states that it will only focus on physical and physiological demands of combat. So, no.
     
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  10. Fallow

    Fallow Banned

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    It isn't about what any one individual thinks. It is a subjective judgement, but one that is reinforced by the shear volume of people that express positive or negative assessments and the preponderance of the same kind of opinion being expressed. That consensus is why we might make an objective statement that one thing receives many more subjective votes than another. It is why we have concepts like "fine dining" separate from "comfort food" or "fine art" separate from "decor".

    And the dividing line between something being "better" rather than "popular" seems to be which holds up to the most introspection. Fine art, fine dining and fine literature generally offer originality and depth that having staying power in the intellectual parts of our minds that simpler, more visceral experiences simply do not.

    Your thesis is gross sales must be a better guide since it is all too subjective, but every time people vote on "best of" lists, their votes reflect something closer to the critical consensus than gross sales. Which is why a flop like Blade Runner will always outrank blockbuster Transformers after any passage of time from their respective releases.
     
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  11. Fallow

    Fallow Banned

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    Poor writing.

    The discussion is really about whether authors, having had a frequent issue pointed out to them, continue to make that same mistake out of incompetence or with intent. And if it was knowingly, whether they succeeded in doing something that rises above the grubbiness of a nasty trope.

    In the case of TKJ, I think you have to at least keep in mind that Alan Moore likes to break the conventions of the field he writes in. So while he committed a relative sin in his treatment of one character, he also put out a comic that depicts the reality of criminal violence in a way that criticises the normal handling of violence in comics. And that aspect of the work gets somewhat lost in the criticism of it.

    But taking a broader view, anything that is known to be "bad writing" is open to be taken on by writers with the talent to be the exception that proves the rule. Neal Stephenson has made an art of "info dumping" that doesn't change the basic premise that writers should normally avoid great swaths of exposition. But this forum is for people trying to develop a craft, so it is better to air on the side of keenly observing the pitfalls of fiction writing until the writer has achieved the kind of mastery that allows them to defy convention successfully. That's why the advice to thoughtfully approach violence involving women remains a useful tool to keep writers from digging a hole for themselves that leads to publisher rejection.
     
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  12. Bone2pick

    Bone2pick Senior Member

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    Of course it is.
    You can't add together a bunch of subjective judgements to reach an objective judgement. If a majority would vote that dogs are better pets than cats, that doesn't mean that dogs would become objectively better pets than cats. It doesn't work like that.
    No, it doesn't "seem" that way at all.
    Guide to what, quality? I don't believe such a guide exists. Sales is one of the best measures we can use to gauge audience demand for a book. But sales don't speak to the audience's satisfaction after reading said book—that would likely best be gauged by reviews. That said, I don't treat reviews as an objective sorting of quality, do you? If so you would have to concede that any four star reviewed book is an objectively better quality work of fiction than a three star reviewed book.

    I don't concede that for a second.
    I've got news for: it's not uncommon for people to strongly disagree with the critical consensus of fiction. And here's another kicker for you, sometimes the critical consensus of fiction or music changes over time. You know why? Because it's not objective.
     
  13. X Equestris

    X Equestris Contributor Contributor

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    I'm not saying the author's views are the end all be all, I'm saying that when even the author of a given work agrees with certain criticisms, it lends credence to those criticisms. And the opposite is true too.
     
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  14. Fallow

    Fallow Banned

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    But no majority has cast such a vote, probably because both make excellent pets and deserve near equal status.

    That's funny. You've constructed a tautology - sales is popularity, popularity is sales. How else would one measure popularity than the rate people acquire something? Neither is reflective of quality.

    You may not concede it, but it is pretty much how the world operates. If your wife wanted the best dinner you could buy for her for your anniversary, would you take her to the restaurant with the greatest sales volume or the highest reviews?


    This is true, but it isn't going to make Gernsback into a great American novelist or cause Hemingway to be seen as schlock. You're talking about how rankings move around and how previously overlooked work is embraced, not a nearly random process of reordering.
     
  15. X Equestris

    X Equestris Contributor Contributor

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    See, to me, they aren't fully separate. More like conjoined twins.
     
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  16. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    I think there's also the interaction between (1) the number of people something appeals to and (2) the depth of appeal to each person that it does appeal to.

    The perfume company Serge Lutens creates some really weird perfumes. With a large percentage of them, a person's reaction is likely to be either, "Buh? Why would I want to smell like that?" or, "Oh, my God! I need a bottle! I need ten bottles! I need to be sure I have this scent for the rest of my life! Sell the cat!" There's not a lot of middle ground--for each individual person.

    But occasionally they put out something of undemanding prettiness. It's good. It's high quality. But...undemanding prettiness. I'm sure more people buy it, but I doubt that many of those people have any sort of fierce loyalty to it.

    I theorize that it's similar in fiction of various types--that the big sellers tend to be the undemanding prettiness, while the favorites are more likely to be "sell the cat".
     
  17. Miranha-Pae

    Miranha-Pae New Member

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    Did not expect my initial post to turn into such a heated discussion but its still an interesting read nonetheless.

    I do think I was worrying over nothing. My FC's death isn't a case of fridging.

    If I ever get enough of it finished to show, I'll maybe post it on here to see if others agree.

    Thanks for all the comments, it's been helpful!
     
  18. Bone2pick

    Bone2pick Senior Member

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    By saying the opposite is true, I take it you mean should an author disagree with certain criticisms, it reduces the credit of those criticisms? If so, I'll give you credit for being consistent. I don't believe that to be true, but it would be consistent.
     
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  19. Bone2pick

    Bone2pick Senior Member

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    It's the principle that matters. Your principle for getting the objective quality of fiction, food, music, and other things, is to find the dominant subjective opinions about those things. If that were true, then that would apply to pet species quality, among other equally tricky things.
    Sales isn't reflective of quality, I said that in post #137. I put forward that sales were a measure of a work's demand—but maybe it's not. Honestly, I haven't thought too deeply about it.
    I would take her to her favorite restaurant. Honestly, she doesn't have just one, she has a few. So, seeing how it's our anniversary, I would take her to whichever one of her favorites we felt had the most romantic atmosphere. Regardless, I wouldn't factor in sales or reviews.
    I'm also talking about how someone could believe and argue that Hemingway isn't a great novelist. I wouldn't do it; I'm an admirerer. But someone could. And I imagine a few folks likely have.

    I feel The Catcher in the Rye is incredible, but several members of this site strongly disagree (I can link the thread). It's not as if they're wrong and I'm right. It's simply a matter that can't be settled, because it's totally subjective.
     
  20. Fallow

    Fallow Banned

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    Not really. I'm saying the a preponderance of reviews allow us to make relative statements about subjective things like "quality". That isn't the same as saying that such a method creates precise mathematical rankings that are "true". All they do is provide a likely location in a range - just like an IQ test does.

    The only reason Catcher is being debated is because it is widely accepted to be great literature, which opens any controversial literature to further critique. As you get higher in the rankings you will necessarily increase the level of critical focus a work receives. Contrast that with Tom Clancy, which no one really debates his status as "pretty good". But really, the kind of debate you're talking about is factored into the overall ranking of a work - Catcher would probably rate higher if the majority of excellent reviews weren't countered with a handful of pointedly negative ones.
     
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  21. X Equestris

    X Equestris Contributor Contributor

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    If they can explain why the criticisms are wrong, sure.
     
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  22. Bone2pick

    Bone2pick Senior Member

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    @Fallow As much as I'd enjoy a deeper exploration on whether or not objective quality exists in fiction, I'm pretty sure this isn't the thread for that. I didn't feel guilty talking about the logic of fridging with X Equestris and Chickenfreak, because that subject has clear connections to this thread's premise. But our conversation, imo, doesn't.

    With that in mind, if you want to create a separate thread for what we're debating, I'll definitely join that discussion.
     

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