Saturday, July 14, 2012

Kill someone who matters

My title today is from a post by Misty Massey at Magical Words. She discusses killing characters not for fun and profit, but as one important way to keep your plot moving toward its climax.

It's a thought-provoking idea. Be brave, Misty says, and have a death that makes things harder for the surviving characters, and also brings tears to readers' eyes.

Killing characters is something that, if you read the comments to Misty's post, most readers need to see a reason for. Not just draw you in only to yank the rug out from under you, either, but as a reason for other plot points.

In my own WIP, I kill people in one of the early chapters. Sure, one reason for it is to help build sympathy for Neal because he's personally involved with the people who die. Their loss haunts him and takes the shine off his brand new life. It also prompts him to take a public stand against violence, even though it means his own wounds have to be left open so others can see the result of too much hate.

Years ago, when I was more focused on other characters in this story, I decided the sister of a secondary character should die. Yeah it was really as pointless as it sounds! Then I decided that the sister of my other protagonist, Sandy, should die. I wanted it to happen so that it could be argued Neal was to blame, but again, realized that too would be pointless.

(those characters are pointless even if alive so I'm just not including them; have I killed them after all?)

Later in the story, someone else very important to Neal dies. I feel this death works because his reaction to it leads to another plot point and permanently changes another of his significant relationships. That matters, because the story is centered on internal conflicts.

I have the feeling, however, that Misty would point to other characters who, if dispatched, would shake up the plot and the readers. My plotting is not finished yet, so beware! Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of writers? muwahahaha....

No comments:

Post a Comment