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Postby Mornara » Sun Jul 16, 2006 11:33 pm

I am currently working on the last or second to last chapter, in which both main characters die, and possibly a few of the others as well. Not fun to write, but it's proving an interesting viewpoint. I watched a bunch of Asian films and have found myself liking the idea of not having happily ever after. In fact, so far all of my ideas end with something not-so-good for the characters, and it seems to make the story more interesting, at least to me.

What's everyone think about killing the main characters off in the end?
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Postby Grand Evander » Mon Jul 17, 2006 12:07 am

I'm all for it actually. If it's a natural progression of the plot and can evoke an emotional response, I say let them burn. A problem really arises only if you want your work to be the beginning of a series. Generational epics are for established writers usually, so getting rid of the MC's would most likely end give the story total closure.

I personally plan to kill off my MC's too. I basically play the reaper for most of my characters. If one survives that I overlooked, I'll just add a line at the end of the story saying he died of dysentary. I'm pro-death for MC's naturally.
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Postby Mornara » Mon Jul 17, 2006 1:00 am

What I'm finding in my writing is that often there is no reason for continuation. I tend to write endings, of worlds, races, civilizations or characters. Red Sun Rising is possibly the end of our race, or world, and even if I decide to let some live, the sacrifice of my MC's is central to the story. The Starwalker series is a huge story, and I have material for a bunch of books before the ending of the race, and even after that, the world ends before my immortal MC's do. I don't know if it my fatalistic side showing through or what, but there is always pain and sacrifice in my stories.And happy endings are in the afterlife, if there is one in that particular world.
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Postby Bmat » Mon Jul 17, 2006 5:29 am

I don't like it when a character with whom I have developed an emotional connection dies. It may well keep me from re-reading the book or from reading any sequels. I observe enough tragedy in my life without adding grieving for a fictional character.
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Postby thegreentick » Mon Jul 17, 2006 1:17 pm

I kill off the main character at the end of my series. It's still a happy ending though, and no reason to grieve. Try figuring that one out. :P

I agree with Bmat. I have a very hard time reading a book a second time if I know that it has a sad ending. If I KNOW someone is going to die, I don't get attached, simple.
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Postby Grand Evander » Tue Jul 18, 2006 6:57 am

I personally don't mind re-reading a story if the characters die. I don't think it's a deciding factor to how I view the quality of a work. I like experiencing a wide range of emotions, so profound sadness definitely gets a few points for the author from me.
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Postby Bmat » Tue Jul 18, 2006 7:12 am

Grand Evander wrote:I personally don't mind re-reading a story if the characters die. I don't think it's a deciding factor to how I view the quality of a work. I like experiencing a wide range of emotions, so profound sadness definitely gets a few points for the author from me.



I, also, don't hold whether the characters die as a deciding factor in how I view the quality of the work. The work may be wonderful. But once I have read it, if I feel sad, depressed, grieving, then it was not a good experience for me. As I mentioned above, I have enough grief going on both in personal life and in the world situations that increasing my sadness level is not something that I wish to have happen.

If a work of fiction upsets me, I won't read it again. I'll remember it, but I won't read it again. Furthermore, I'll hesitate to read anything else by that author.

Having said all of this. let me temper my remark by realizing that if the work is outstanding, the tragedies of Shakespeare for example, then yes I'll read it again. But the reading is not for the enjoyment of the story but for enjoyment of the written work itself.

When I read a novel and the main character dies- the character whom I have learned about, traveled with, invested emotion in - I feel let down if she dies.
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Postby Grand Evander » Tue Jul 18, 2006 6:27 pm

I can sympathize with that reaction when reading. I think it attests to an author's abilities to make us care when the MC dies. I usually dislike the opposite, where almost everyone lives happily ever after with little stain left upon the characters or the world.
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Postby thegreentick » Tue Jul 18, 2006 8:37 pm

I agree. Terry Brooks is notorious for endings that don't have nearly enough loss. If you want to read some books that have a LOT of prominent people die, you'll want to check out George RR Martin's Song of Ice and Fire
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Postby t_tibke » Wed Jul 19, 2006 10:19 am

Um yeah, Song of Fire and Ice is the definition of loss. Most people can't believe all the stuff that happens to his characters when they read them.
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Postby Grand Evander » Thu Jul 20, 2006 12:27 am

I think there should definitely be a balance of loss in the story such that it's not borderline gratuitous (or actually gratuitous). In the same breath, I say that endings that are too cheerful often lack realism for me. My favorite stories are those that create well-developed characters, make them likeable, and then take the reader on an emotional rollercoaster that seems natural and meaningful in the story. A death can speak volumes in a story... whether or not what it says reflects positively or negatively on the author depends on its timing and ability to evoke an emotional response.
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Postby NeoScribe » Fri Jul 28, 2006 11:29 pm

I purposely do not even think of any characters death until the last moment. Mostly because if I decide a characters going down to soon, I end up minimizing their roles in the story and they just sorta dissappear. Except for the villians 'cause it's so fun to right their deaths scenes.

Head's chooped and he doesn't even notice! Power suite blows up with him laughing like a maniac! Fighting furiously against her inevitable doom even as her partner abandons her! Being ripped apart by beams of light as he screams it rage and agony! The list goes on. (on a side note, a character who wasn't evil but willingly fought on the wrong side dies by her former comrade after killing another old comrade. The scene was so touching nonetheless that I actually started crying. My friends didn't cry but did condemn me to eternal torture for killing off two of his favorite characters.)
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