1. Acanthophis

    Acanthophis ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) Contributor

    Feb 11, 2011
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    Timing of Main Character's Death

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Acanthophis, May 13, 2015.

    My main character is destined to die. His death is currently plotted to be at the end of the novel, but I've got another scenario which might be better: dying in the middle of the novel. Both deaths ultimately lead to the same place (give or take a few minor details), but the paths of other characters will change. I'll give a little backstory before presenting either scenario. It'll be as bare-bones as possible.

    The main character's sister recruits him into a taskforce with the single purpose of tracking down and [if possible] eliminating an organisation with unknown motives. I do have a series planned for this, which is why I'm thinking about these decisions. The novel is being written as a standalone though, there is a definite beginning, middle, and end. It won't be ending as if another is expected to come.

    Scenario One: He dies at the midway mark, tortured and killed by his captors. His sister feels responsible for the events and blames herself, consequently resulting in poor judgement, as she is in command of the taskforce. Others will die under her command, which has an even larger lasting impact on her and her subplot, but isn't important to the overall plot. She learns from her mistakes over time, eventually becoming much smarter and wiser.

    Scenario Two: He dies at the end, killed by his lover (the same who tortures and kills him in scenario one). It's determined later on (as in another novel) that he'd been planning his defection from the taskforce in the months leading up to his death. After finding this out, his sister becomes cold and calculating, unable to trust a soul. Every major decision she makes hereon out is ultimately rooted in this 'betrayal'. She doesn't just think first and act later, she does both at the same time with impressive results. This trait she comes to possess still exists in scenario one, but arrives much faster here.

    I have both scenarios planned in such a way that it doesn't matter in the context of one novel, because it honestly doesn't. His death has a large impact on people who become much more important than he was, but those changes come later. Final thought to keep in mind. The novel is written with multiple viewpoints, so each character is equally important to the outcome. If it's not wise to kill off the main protagonist half way through the novel, than I won't. I've never really seen it done, which is why I'm somewhat confused about handling the situation. I feel as if I could though, because his partner is equally important and could take his place.

    Hopefully that was coherent enough to understand!
  2. Link the Writer

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

    Sep 24, 2009
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    Alabama, USA
    I personally think the first scenario is the most interesting one. If the MC dies and the POV is shifted to his sister, it'd be interesting to see how she takes her brother's death, and the effects it has on her and those under her command.
  3. wellthatsnice

    wellthatsnice Active Member

    Apr 1, 2015
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    Im with @Link the Writer that the first scenario is the better of the two. You can do some really interesting stuff with a POV shift (Gone Girl and GoT as examples). Just make sure that the chapters through the eyes of the sister are very different than what you gave the reader with the original MC.

    I would also think twice before making a characters rash and emotional decisions have to many impressive outcomes...eventually this type of characteristic can just become a trope and you will lose your reader.

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