Monday, 11 May 2015

Killing Off Characters

This is something that really came to me while I was doing some writing on Immortal Space. It's not actually anything to do with killing characters throughout the course of a book. The first story I wrote involved a little girl being hit by a car. So I've made my views on the killing off of characters pretty clear. Though my actual views do disagree with that kind of thing really. I'm not a fan of when a major character dies and I don't like doing it myself.
I've actually not read/watched Game of Thrones because of all the character deaths. 
 No this is actually about erasing a character entirely during the writing process. I'm going to be honest with you; I considered actually getting rid of a character entirely. I won't say which though. No one majorly important who probably wouldn't be missed too much. What saved them was that I had posted pieces of the story here before so everyone knew they existed. There would be people reading going "Wait, where the fuck did they go?"
Plot twist; Wally never existed
 This kind of got me wondering if there were other characters in stories who existed in first drafts but were then not in the final version. I don't think I've ever seen an author asked a question like that. How would you even know there was a character missing if you hadn't seen the draft yourself? That was the case with Immortal Space.

To writers; Ever taken a character out of a story entirely? To others; Ever heard of such a thing?


  1. If it's for the sake of the story, I'm all for it. If it's purely for shock value, then no. And since we write mostly comedy, it might be kind of weird to kill a character mid story. That's... not very funny. Unless it's a hilarious death?

    1. There's definitely such a thing as a hilarious death. That was my problem with all the deaths in Harry Potter. They seemed to serve no purpose other than to upset you. Or add some kind of realism. I can get that at least. That's the general opinion of Game of Thrones deaths. It's hard to believe there would be some huge battle and no one of importance would die.

  2. I would guess that a lot of writers do the same thing. I have. Most of the time, I end up erasing an unnecessary character, and then taking any important aspects of that character that I need for the story and attaching them to another character. It's always a really tough decision, though...

  3. "What saved them was that I had posted pieces of the story here before so everyone knew they existed. There would be people reading going "Wait, where the fuck did they go?""
    Dude, what are you doing? Shouldn't you be making the best version of IS possible instead of pandering to a previous audience? If that's your only reason for keeping the character around then that can't be healthy for the quality of the story/closeness to your intended direction, right?

  4. I'm not a writer so I can't speak from personal experience but for what it's worth, here's my two cents:

    (1) I agree with Fang. Write the best story without worrying about anyone who's read some early draft. The story's integrity depends solely on its own terms.

    (2) I don't think characters should be gratuitously killed off but hey, shit happens in real life too. People die unfairly all the time and novels should not be exempt from reflecting that fact.

  5. I hate it when they kill off a character I really like but it happens and we deal and move on

  6. I can see that a lot of planning has to go into writing, quite the craft.


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