[community profile] charloft Munday: Death

Apr. 12th, 2010 10:02 am
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How do you react to character death? Have you had an occasion to kill a character off? How did you feel about it? How did your rp partners feel? How do you approach writing death scenes?

Funny enough, I had reasons to comment on this very topic not an hour before it was posted, to my most regular RP partner.

It's a complicated thing, I've found. Whether it's final or not, it brings a whole basketload of complications. (And by not final I mean people being brought back from the dead, either the way I have done with characters like Tonks, or canonly, with characters like Dean Winchester.) One way or another, death is a damage to the nearest and dearest to the characters, and dealing with that is both difficult and extremely interesting.

Yes, I have had occasions to kill characters off. For example, Max here dies at a relatively young age, as his kind (wizards) go. It is ... very bad for all of his family (which includes not only his wife and children, but his boss and his family, as well). On the other hand, for his type of job and levels of everyday risk - which he chooses with his eyes open, day after day - even as good as he is, living till he reaches his old age is highly improbable. So his demise was conceived, planned, plotted, and eventually written out as part of my 2008 NaNo project. And then there was aftermath, including two exceedingly fine fics by [profile] delamarck which make me cry every single time I read them.
... on the upside, it's RP. And we can always go back to events prior to that. And even if some of the 'meta' knowledge leaks to Max's wife or children or boss, it makes sense, somewhat (again, his job is very dangerous, and fear that something will happen to him on the next job, or the one after that, is part of their lives). And he can comfort and reassure them. Mostly by reminding them, every time that they need it, that he lives completely and makes his own choices and is happy, so every day of his life that he has is much more than most people have. And that his closest people make him happy, and so the sadness is, somewhat, dispelled.

Another original character who dies on somebody who cares for him is Greg, [profile] looklikeanangel. He is... very much picker to figure out, different, complicated. His death I haven't gotten around to actually writing out yet - but it has been considered, included as part of the overall story, and yes, some of the aftermath of it has been grappled with.

Then there are the canon deaths that we get to deal with, in RP. One already mentioned is Dean Winchester, hell, the issues there are so many and complicated that, when the levels of angst are not painful (damn canon!), it's pithy and rich to grapple with. Actually, there now the problem is shifted to something entirely else, which is both spoilery and, ugh, not really up to touching it just yet.

Another one that comes to mind is off the fandom The Covenant. The way muses got split between me and my partner, I got Caleb and, in a way, Caleb's father, William Danvers III. Those who know the movie know that the latter one made quite the mess of his life, redeeming act at the end or not. We get to deal with the aftermath in terms of his son, whose abandonment issues develop in a very specific pattern, as well as his best friend, whose grief and problems with the choices are something entirely else. Out of that grows a pattern of pain and reassurance, of hurt and comfort and healing, among Caleb and Pogue and Pogue's father, which is a source of much interesting writing and roleplay.

On and on. People die, and so do characters. Sometimes it's heroic, sometimes it's a result of bad choices, sometimes it's painful and tragic, sometimes it's entirely stupid and unexpected. And, as almost everything that touches deeply, it's something to be dealt with, in depth and realistically. I wouldn't call it exactly fun; but when done with measure and thoughtfully, it can result in growth for both muses and the writers.

... and then I come to the discussion of this morning. Building a new world with the mun playing the partner in a lot of the above situations, I found myself developing a character who is... significantly less long-lived than two of the other main characters in the story. And while we're still setting up dynamics, apparently my backbrain poked me about the issue and I was thinking of ways (yes, magic is a reality, in that world) to stretch my character's life span. And this morning I realized that I wasn't overly eager to fall again the pattern where my character dies on those who care for him way too soon. Yes, everybody dies eventually. But, um. :) While I will go for it when the story demands it, killing my muses isn't always my character development tool of choice.

Anyway. That was much ramble.
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