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Killing off Characters

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KatarinaNavane



Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 908
Location: Athens Ohio
Killing off Characters  Reply with quote  

If you read my rant about being cursed on the N&N board, You'll know that my favorite characters have a bad habit of dieing. What are your views on killing off characters? Is it ok to kill off a main character, or should one stick to murdering minor characters?
One of the things I've recieved dubious praise upon in my own writings is that I have no qualms with bumping off a lovable character. In fact, in my most recent short story (which I haven't typed up yet) I kill off my narrator and he keeps right on narrating (reincarnation...don't ask) I wonder if I write like this Because my favorite characters have a habit of dieing, or visa versa.... I'm rambling. Anyway, post your opinions on killing off characters here.
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Post Tue Dec 14, 2004 6:32 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail AIM Address MSN Messenger
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Bump them off  Reply with quote  

Bumping off a main character can be very powerful -- and the great thing about fiction is that you can undo it if it doesn't work. I'm working on a novel that is building to the death of one of the main characters -- she has survived and survived and then an accident befalls her. Don't know yet if it will play out as I have planned -- these characters have such a way of redefining themselves.

Post Sat Dec 18, 2004 7:18 am   
Lloydface



Joined: 30 Nov 2004
Posts: 459
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Kill em all! If there not real  Reply with quote  

Yeah i plan to kill my main guy at the end rather suprisingly since its sort of a fairy tale. IF i should feel the need to write another book, supposing this one is enjoyable and not spat on by strangers.... I can always bring him back. But if your writing non fiction i guess its different
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Post Sat Dec 18, 2004 4:50 pm   View user's profile Send private message MSN Messenger
Boota



Joined: 09 Apr 2004
Posts: 830
Location: Kokomo, Indiana
 Reply with quote  

The only thing I could add is that when you kill off a main character it needs to come with a big pay off. Minor characters can die any old way that you need them to, but a main character deserves better. If you get a reader to accept, and some cases love, a character, they might feel ripped off if it isn't a fitting end. It would be like having Jesus slip in the shower at the end of Passion of the Christ.

I just finished a novella in which the main character is killed, but he was the bad guy, so I think readers will enjoy seeing him get it. I know I enjoyed killing him. I wrote the whole story just to kill the bastard.
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Post Mon Dec 20, 2004 10:40 am   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
palmer



Joined: 30 Mar 2004
Posts: 1324
Re: Killing off Characters  Reply with quote  

KatarinaNavane wrote:
What are your views on killing off characters? Is it ok to kill off a main character, or should one stick to murdering minor characters?


It depends. Why do they die. If there is a story logic to it, kill them; if not, don't.

Did you ever read Canticle for Leibowitz? I think he kills off the main character after fifty pages, then goes with a new one who in turn suffers a horrible fate... It works because the "story" ultimately is not about them; it's about something much bigger.

And there's some book by Robertson Davies whose main character dies in the first paragraph, or The Lovely Bones, for that matter.

It was quite a shock for theatre audiences when the supposed main character dies halfway through Psycho -- it wasn't the way movies were made, but it made sense.

It must make sense.

Post Mon Dec 20, 2004 4:55 pm   View user's profile Send private message
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