November 26th, 2014

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Writing Excuses 9.49: Hiding the Open Grave

Writing Excuses 9.49: Hiding the Open Grave

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2014/11/23/writing-excuses-9-49-hiding-the-open-grave/

Key Points: To foreshadow or not a character's death... Do you want to surprise the reader? What tells the reader this character is doomed? Tropes... Making a character just round enough to die. Characters whose only function is to die. How do you avoid this? Don't truncate the character's arc. But watch out for unfulfilled promises. Let someone else finish the arc, or complete the arc some other way. Mentors often die. Watch out for characters who are only there to die and motivate the main character. Try to avoid steering into the death -- make it a surprise by treating the character as a full character. Just because you love a character doesn't mean they have to die. Character deaths should be meaningful, which may require setup, red herrings and other distractions. Does the character who is going to die get a POV like everyone else? 
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[Brandon] So, your writing prompt. I'm going to give it to you. I want you to take a story that you've been planning, you've been working on. I want you to kill the protagonist in the first scene. Then, force yourself to take one of your other characters and have them step up and take over the story. You don't have to finish writing this story, it's just an exercise for you to do. This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.
[Howard] Now go commit murder.
[Dan] Fictionally.
[Mary] Kill your darlings.
[Applause]
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