NaNoWriMo procrastination: thoughts on killing off characters

November madness has encroached upon my blog writing time with the start of NaNoWriMo and my race to write 50K in a month. However, the last few days I stumbled upon a roadblock when I realised the character’s deaths I had planned wouldn’t work. I had plotted my character’s deaths perfectly except when the time came for my first character to die she just wouldn’t do it. She threatened me with her spear and insisted her character arc wasn’t complete. Stubborn bitch just won’t do what she’s told.

After starting to write my novel I’ve also worked in ways to show the threat of the world I’ve created without killing off so many characters. So I’ve been spending the past few days reworking my outline and reconsidering my character deaths and it got me thinking about the character death’s in stories that I love and hate. Here are a few that have resonated with me (warning may be spoilers).

Star Wars
In the original Star Wars, Obi-wan and Darth Vader were perfect  examples of meaningful and symbolic deaths that were essential to the plot.

As for Star Wars I –III, Meesa thinks a few characters could’ve said good bye. You bought the rights Disney, now do your job.

Serenity
I have many friends who lamented the death of Wash and some who were even angry at Josh Weddon for killing him off because Wash was the most loveable character. I also hated this death, not because Wash was likable, but because I felt Zoe’s reaction was the total opposite of what it should have been. In the series, the only thing that ever threatened to break her tough persona was when Wash was in danger. Wash’s death wouldn’t have made her tough and determined, it would have made her an emotional wreck. Everyone has a breaking point and I have no doubt that Wash was hers.

Game of Thrones
Ned Starks death was executed (excuse the pun) perfectly.  Not only did the unexpectedness of it work, but also the loss of knowledge that occurred when he died and how this completely changed the direction of the plot. Also Ned didn’t really have a role in the story anymore and Jon Snow began to take on the story’s theme of honour and loyalty. As for the rest of the series… All the deaths have lost their impact as there is a chance George may bring them back to life again. And for the reasons above, the end of A Dance with Dragons just pissed me off. It’s almost enough for me to put down the series. Okay, not really. I’m still hanging out for The Winds of Winter. Hurry up George. Who am I to talk? I can’t even write a 50K word draft in a month. It’d probably take me several years to finish a book that large and complex too.

Anyway, that’s enough procrastination, back to my novel. Now I’ve reworked my plot, my characters will probably act like lemmings and all want to jump off a cliff.

What character’s deaths have inspired you or pissed you off?

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