30 Day Writing Meme: “I brought you into this world, and I can take you out of it!”

August 1, 2016 § Leave a comment

Day 24 → How will­ing are you to kill your char­ac­ters if the plot so demands it*?

If I come up with a story that requires my character(s) to die, then they’re gonna die. My stories have deaths in them. It’s not always a terrible thing.

Everyone dies. We tend tend to phrase that as, "In the end, everyone dies." The problem with that is that beginnings and endings are where we put them. I don’t believe that death is the end; it’s an end to an individual’s physical life. It’s a word we use to describe the separation of the invisible from physical processes, usually when those processes no longer function to keep a living thing "alive."

Even my "immortal" characters have some kind of dissolution or ending. All characters grow and change, and each change is a kind of death, a transition, or a rebirth — depending on the point of the story.

I take death in fiction very seriously. Writer advice is full of "kill off a character!" instruction with which I disagree. Audiences are pretty jaded; movies, TV, and books are full of deaths without much emotional punch except irritation, or ones so maudlin that they are off-putting. (I’m still mad at Whedon for "I’m a leaf on the wind!" by the way.)

*A writer should not be bullied by her plot. If the plot "demands" a death, then — just like a Mary Sue character means a lack of development — that plot needs development.

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