Thursday, February 28, 2013

Character Deaths v. 2.0




I call this post version 2.0 because there is already a post on this blog about Character Deaths. Also, the video above is Mumford & Sons performing "Ghosts That We Knew." 

I have killed many characters in my time. The bulk of them died because I was bored with them or there was no plot and the story wouldn't progress without something happening--so I sacrificed the character. I doubt that I gave any of these past characters a really satisfying death scene.

Killing off Eva's mother, Evangeline, pre-story, and Brixton's dad, in-story, in Last Request was meant to psychologically scar both of them, but the way the deaths came out was not emotionally satisfying. They were too surface, if you get what I mean. 

Well, part of the work I'm doing for Draft Three of the WIP is starting it earlier in the timeline. That is, instead of opening it upon arrival in England or onboard the ship taking them to England, I've started it on the plantation Miles lived on with his wife and two kids.

And on page 52, Miles's wife, Delphine, dies.

By page 50 in a novel, a reader has to know the protagonist, have an idea of where the story is going, what the character's wants and goals are. By page 50, as one of the writing books I've read in the last few months have said, the character has to go through a doorway of no return--the first plot point.

I knew it was coming up. I wasn't sure how Delphine died, except that it was illness. I wrote her death scene at 1 am last night and after I was done, I felt really sad.

I don't know that I've ever felt sad over one of my characters dying before.

Of course, this could simply be those nightmarish dreams I had the other day (a recurring one, in fact, where there's a dude and a gun). Or that it's been raining and cloudy and gloomy here in New York for most of the week. Or that I watched That Scene with Sybil from Downton Abbey one too many times. Or that I listened to "Ghosts That We Knew" a lot. Or that I've been with these characters for...what? two and a half years? 



2 comments:

  1. The deaths of my characters all serve a purpose resulting in furthering the story, at least so far they have. I haven't been too shaken up killing off a character, until I killed my MC's lover. I had really grown to like him, but he had to die. Despite being low birth, he at least got a dignified funeral partially planned out by the king, a friend of my MC.

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    1. Her death always had a big impact on my MC and my MC's daughters, but I thought that in order to really show the impact--and plot structure reasons--I needed to show the death. I'm glad your MC's lover got a dignified funeral. My MC is arguing over his daughters having to wear black crepe.

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