You Read That Right – Everyone, Meet My Morbid Side
I’d like to say I exaggerated in that title a tad, that I don’t like death of characters I’m close to in books I read; but anyone who knows my book choices knows that I have some sort of minor obsession with character death. I think of Peter Pan’s “To die would be an awfully big adventure.” Or Anne of Green Gable’s romanticizing the death of Elaine in a reenactment. For me, when a character I care about dies, it’s devastating and tragic, but also oddly satisfactory and wonderful.
The Perfect Philosophy of Character Death
Recently while reading the Divergent series, I came across the most perfect Philosophy of Character Death ever. It encapsulates my feelings on character death. I recently posted on facebook for everyone to buy the book Insurgent just to read that (and then to read the rest of the book as a bonus of course.) But I found a cheaper option for those not interested in the series (le sigh, whyyyy not?????). You can (read “should”) enjoy the full post here, but the 3 main points are:
1) Character deaths should be felt by the reader, so it should be known characters that die.
2) For Veronica Roth’s stories (and most of mine too probably) it’s too much suspension of disbelief for the favorite most-well-known characters to survive unscathed. If main characters are constantly in danger and never gravely injured or dead – let me put it bluntly – that’s stupid!
3) Contrary to reader belief, authors don’t control everything in the story. God created a world that He controls, but humans have free will in that. Authors often have a similar dilemma – they create a story-world and control so many outside forces, but characters when created well have a mind of their own and will up and die without our planning on it.
I am in complete agreement here, and well, if you haven’t figured out yet, if you read my stories, you may want to brace yourself for a major character death or two. After all, life isn’t easy in these story-worlds we create.
What do you think?
Do you agree with Veronica Roth on each of her points? Do you find major character deaths satisfactory? Do you avoid tragic storylines like the plague? Comment below, I wanna know your take.
For another take on character death and some writing tips, check out http://www.writersedit.com/effective-ways-deal-character-deaths/ …. “Has death in fiction become a cheap gimmick, included with the sole intention of nabbing awards?”