1. Dekuyper

    Dekuyper New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2016
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    3

    Murder of a Female Character

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Dekuyper, Jun 24, 2018.

    Hello everyone,

    I feel that I am being paranoid here, but I would like to be sure.

    Is the murder of a female character some kind of faux pas? I think it could well be if she was pregnant. However, I'm thinking many would not be able to handle the thought of a female being killed. Especially if she was murdered in her sleep.

    What do you guys think?
     
  2. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Messages:
    1,560
    Likes Received:
    1,624
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2018
    GingerCoffee likes this.
  3. CoyoteKing

    CoyoteKing Good Boi Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2017
    Messages:
    700
    Likes Received:
    1,421
    Location:
    Kennel
    1) Generally, no. Kill who you want.

    2) There is a specific kind of killing that's bad. It's called "fridging." Basically, it's when a woman is killed off as a cheap plot device to motivate the (male) hero. It's generally considered cliche, lazy, and outdated.

    It's called "fridging" based off a scene from the Green Lantern comics. A villain (who was angry at Green Lantern) murders the hero's girlfriend to spite him, then stuffs her body in the fridge. Green Lantern finds her body there and becomes traumatized.

    Anyway, long story short, make an effort to treat your male characters and female characters equally. If 99% of your characters are male and you murder the only female character as a cheap plot point, that's pretty lazy writing. If you have roughly equal male and female characters and one of them happens to get killed... go for it.
     
  4. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    15,338
    Likes Received:
    13,066
    Female characters, pregnant or not, get murdered all the time. Is there a specific genre that you’re worried about?
     
    deadrats and Simpson17866 like this.
  5. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Messages:
    1,560
    Likes Received:
    1,624
    Absolutely.

    Also, the Smurfette Principal: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheSmurfettePrinciple

    It goes for any kind of representation, right? If you have a fair amount of representation for a group, you can wack a character from that group and leave the audience with characters they can relate to. If you kill Smurfette, you alienate many of the female viewers/readers.
     
    Simpson17866 and GingerCoffee like this.
  6. CoyoteKing

    CoyoteKing Good Boi Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2017
    Messages:
    700
    Likes Received:
    1,421
    Location:
    Kennel
    yeah, I'm kind of wondering this as well.

    @Dekuyper: What market are you writing for?
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2018
    deadrats likes this.
  7. GlitterRain7

    GlitterRain7 Galaxy Girl Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2017
    Messages:
    628
    Likes Received:
    880
    People can handle females being killed. But, like the others said, if there's only one female and you killed her, well, that would be a problem.
     
  8. LastMindToSanity

    LastMindToSanity Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2018
    Messages:
    506
    Likes Received:
    333
    I mean, in all fairness, if Deku's writing a post-apocalyptic survival story and his only female character gets killed, that'd be a pretty cool plot point to explore considering that the survivors are ultimately doomed to lead meaningless lives if they can't have a following generation that would benefit from their struggles.
     
    Simpson17866 and Mckk like this.
  9. ITBA01

    ITBA01 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2018
    Messages:
    208
    Likes Received:
    108
    If you want to kill her off, do it. It's my theory that writers love violence (Why do you think so many kid shows have robots which can be decapitated, or aliens with green blood?).
     
  10. CoyoteKing

    CoyoteKing Good Boi Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2017
    Messages:
    700
    Likes Received:
    1,421
    Location:
    Kennel
    Eh. I mean, even then, there could be lots of other women in the story. Just not, y'know, reproductive women. Women are only really reproductive around age 15-45 or so, and even then, many women inside that range are either infertile or sterile.

    I'm nit-picking, I know. *wanders off again*
     
  11. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll "It's a messy business." :P Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Messages:
    15,708
    Likes Received:
    21,692
    Location:
    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.
    Just go for it. Don't care if a rabid mutant hunts her down, tears open
    her belly and then consumes the fetus. :p

    It isn't taboo to write about killing women in stories, seeing as many
    seem to be the plot device in murder/mysteries. Hell in my story they
    kill women (alien and human) all the time. Worst I have done so far
    is breaking a spine with raw force, and flaying 3 alive. So nothing is
    too extreme, so long as you don't fridge them like others have said.
    :superidea:
     
  12. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2016
    Messages:
    2,255
    Likes Received:
    3,549
    ^^^This. Context is everything.
     
    Simpson17866 likes this.
  13. X Equestris

    X Equestris Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2015
    Messages:
    2,018
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    You're probably fine, though it's hard to tell without seeing it in context.

    It's even possible to have a villain target a loved one of the hero without it being Fridging. You just have to make sure your narrative treats the victim like a person, rather than cheap motivation and angst for the hero.

    That's the core problem with Fridging: in those instances, it's always about how the (usually male) hero feels about what happened to the (usually female) victim. No consideration is given to anyone else's feelings, including those of the victim herself (whether she survives the attack or it's written from her POV). In the absolute worst cases, that motivation and angst is quickly dropped and the victim is forgotten.

    If you avoid those pitfalls, I doubt anyone will complain.
     
  14. Privateer

    Privateer Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2017
    Messages:
    299
    Likes Received:
    483
    'Damn, they killed Judy...and, by extension, our entire tribe in about 20 years time. Damn it.'
     
    LastMindToSanity likes this.
  15. KaTrian

    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2013
    Messages:
    6,775
    Likes Received:
    5,386
    Location:
    Funland
    It's ok. Even if she's the only woman - at leas as far as I'm concerned as a reader. It all depends on how you write the story, how the plot unfolds, even what kind of character she is.

    Character deaths only really annoy me if they die in a stupid way (especially due to their own stupidity), if it's done to pull at the reader's heartstrings, or if it only happens because 'look it's dangerous out here, so someone has to die!' so basically the character existed only so that they could be snuffed out in some usually gratuitous way (though even that isn't always a bad thing. Slashers can be entertaining).
     
  16. Mckk

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    6,291
    Likes Received:
    4,217
    I feel that perhaps you haven't really read anything in the crime/mystery genres if you feel this way. Women are murder victims all the time in books. An example that comes to mind is Girl with a Dragon Tattoo (probably because its real title is really Men Who Hate Women, so its very theme is about that). So I'm not entirely sure why you're worried. My advice might be to read more crime novels before you embark on your own though.

    Although somehow I had in mind a faceless woman like the many murder victims in crime novels - they aren't really characters and they do exist simply to die, but in crime novels that's ok in a lot of cases.

    If you meant having a real, established character die - then the question you should ask isn't "Is it ok since she's a woman?" It should rather be:

    - Why did the killer choose her? Why does he need her to die?
    - How does this advance the plot and/or character development of my MC and other important characters?

    If you can give good answers to these questions, you're fine.

    If you can't, then you're gonna piss off a lot of readers, not because the victim is a woman, but because you murdered a character they cared about and loved for no apparent reason other than Haha GOTCHA! Unless you're GRR Martin :D
     

Share This Page