for the Bookworms, for the Writers

Why I Like Major Character Death (Thank You, Veronica Roth!)

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?”

for the Bookworms, Showcasing other Creatives

The Weirdest Book I’ve Read: “Stiff” by Mary Roach

Ever read something that immediately gets a reaction when brought up? I’m not talking about “This book is illegal in ____ countries.” I’m talking about “This book is socially unacceptable in…well, everywhere.”

That’s how I felt while reading Stiff by Mary Roach. It was fascinating and disgusting and  abject. I wanted to share all this new knowledge with everyone, and simultaneously wasn’t sure I wanted to see their reaction.

 

Image from www.goodreads.com
Image from www.goodreads.com

 

You see, Stiff is about the “lives” of human cadavers. What happens after you die. Whether embalmed, cremated, organ donation, scientific research, or other options. (Did YOU know there’s other options? I sure didn’t.)

I learned about plastic surgery practice, criminology, cannibalism, crucifixion research, and plane crashes. I learned about jobs I can’t imagine being a part of small-talk – how do you socialize with that job description? I learned about all the stages of decay. Interesting stuff I probably should not bring up anywhere other than this post.

If it sounds interesting, you should check it out. If you feel like you might upchuck your lunch now, then this book isn’t for you. It just makes me so happy to know that this repulsive state was never in God’s original design, and it’s not gonna be for forever. Hallelujah!

But what’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever read? Let me know the weird books you’ve come across.