MC is an assassin who was raised with and by his sister after the death of their parents. They were adopted by an uncle, who did his best though he was overwhelmed by the task so the two kids raised each other.

MC is highly successful and unrepentant assassin who is devoted to his sister. She and her family are the closest thing to normal that he has ever experienced and his love for his family is such that there is nothing he will not do for them. He is the ultimate professional and never acts out of anger or passion.

The sister, Diana,is fiercely protective of her little brother in part out of habit, but mostly because she knows him well. She is the voice of normalcy in Alexander’s life. She understands him in ways no one else can and is also the only character who could truly change him as he would choose her over his profession if push came to shove.

The two siblings have a strong bond though they must find time to be together unobserved since his departure from the CIA. He wants her in his life and she wants him in hers, but both understand that she is placed in peril as she is his vulnerability. The threat, if any, will never come from any of his colleagues as he is too highly respected for that to occur - but his former employers might force things and have unforeseen consequences.

I think she should either die or be gravely wounded because of the dangerous nature of her brother’s profession and their determination that they can be the exception to the rule. Their stepfather uncle believes that Alex staying in Diana’s life places her in danger. Alex is highly skilled, but so are his opponents so things will go wrong for him on occasion and either her death or incapacitation would certainly force him to choose and assess his life - possibly without her wisdom. If she dies, under the current paradigm, he would have to choose his path. His main options are to wreak revenge which is not in his character or opt to retire and honour her memory or - if she is paralyzed - go home to take care of her.

If she is neither injured nor killed he continues down the road he has travelled for the past sixteen years. He goes about his business as a ‘liquidator of corporate assets’ and has Thanksgiving and Christmas with his sister and her normal life counterpoints his. He is the assassin at the table.

My main reservation is that I think it is intriguing to have this dichotomy and her normal life offers him the hope of the same if he ever chooses to retire.

I like her character but am not sure if she should essentially continue to ground her brother or if he should be forced to find his own gyroscope.

  • Hi Rasdashan! Welcome to Writing.SE! It looks like this question might be put on-hold for focusing -- we avoid questions asking "what should I write", because we can't really make those decisions for you :) So let me help by asking a few focusing questions: – Standback Jul 25 '18 at 9:41
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    The way you phrase this seems to hint that you think the sister character maybe "should" die, in order to provoke a dramatic reaction. But it looks like you're conflicted about taking that route. Instead of explaining the details of the situation, can you explain what your own doubts and considerations are? Why are you thinking "yes I should" and why you're thinking "no I shouldn't" or "not yet"? I think there's a very interesting question here about whether it's necessary to rob your characters of their pillars of support, but IMO you should define what "should" even means here :) – Standback Jul 25 '18 at 9:46
  • Sorry, first post here. Is that a bit better? – Rasdashan Jul 26 '18 at 1:33
  • @Rashadan: As I understand your question, you're presenting two story arc options you might take: one where your MC continues relying on his sister as a stable point of support, and one where she's killed and it breaks him. So you should know: either of these can work really well, and make a great story. There are also a hundred other options you might take, which could also make great stories. We can't really choose for you, though! :-D – Standback Jul 27 '18 at 14:25
  • And a suggestion: give serious thought to both options. Toy around with them, get a feel for what kind of story they'd be, what you like and dislike about each; maybe think what your next few twists and turns might be, and how this choice affects them. Then... well, then you need to choose :-) – Standback Jul 27 '18 at 14:27

This is called "fridging".

Don't do it.

I was tempted to have a similar situation in my story and was talked out of it. My story and the characters have been immensely benefited by pursuing alternatives.

Character deaths can be a useful inciting event, but its disproportionate brunt on female characters sends a message you may not intend.

For a description of what fridging is:

"The idea here is that women are made into victims in comics and superhero stories, specifically so men can have motivations, emotions and character development. It renders women into objects in stories while men get to be characters who have agency. When the girlfriend or wife is killed or kidnapped, the hero gets what he needs to go forward and stop the bad guy. Simone launched a website identifying the trend in comic stories, and it’s a trope that’s still prevalent in all kinds of pop culture storytelling today."


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    I would not want to do that. Thank you. – Rasdashan Jul 25 '18 at 1:24

It doesn't matter if she lives or dies because she is just a prop for the MC. She has no character of her own. You didn't even give her a description, an age, or a name. Your question would have read exactly the same if she were a toy dog, an ancestral home, or an heirloom given to him by his mother.

I say she dies since she isn't contributing anything to the story. No need to wait for volume 3. Kill her right at the start.


You have made your question longer, and you added an age and name and a list of people she is related to, but you still haven't created a CHARACTER with their OWN motives and their OWN agency. It honestly doesn't matter if your paid murderer is upset because he got a taste of his own methods, that actually seems expected – I guess he's never once considered the children of the people he's assassinated. Aren't they also forever changed as per the rules of your universe? Or it's different somehow because now it's happened to him? Uh, ok. I didn't like this guy already, and now that I know he has different rules for himself than his victims, I like him even less.

The only reason anyone reading your story will care that you kill a generically disposable girlfriend/wife/sister/child is if you first make her a real character with her own motives and her own character arc (not just a list of people she is related to, genealogy is not building a character). The readers must invest in her emotionally. If you can't make her 3-dimensional kill her off before your story even starts, as I said before she appears to contribute NOTHING to your story.

Red shirts and girlfriends in refrigerators are such obvious cliches they telegraph their purpose from the start. You've made this situation worse by having your universe be about a murderer, so why is one more murder suppose to be important or life changing to the reader?

Rather than some emotional turning point it is an overused trope of shallow hero stories that have no coherent in-universe morality:

"I've killed hundreds of people, but this time it touched meeee!"

or character progression:

"I'm an orphan living outside society's laws and am literally a paid murderer with a secret identity, but dammit now where am I going to go for Thanksgiving? I am so upset about this I will go and murder some MORE and be an outsider even MORE!!!"

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  • I was trying to be concise. She is Diana Owens, 38, married to Daniel and mother of David 12 and Claire 14. She has scenes with her brother and stands up to the FBI agent sent to persuade her that her little brother is a very dangerous man. She knows what he does, but also knows who he is and has no respect for the opinion of some agent who read his file. She knows her brother and he knows her. – Rasdashan Jul 25 '18 at 1:15
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    You are just listing her relatives and some scenes. She is still not in any way her own character. She only exists in relation to others, including an FBI agent. This is not a person this is just a prop you've created to "fridge" so the MC will have some feels and "go berserk". – wetcircuit Jul 25 '18 at 1:39
  • This. Although, then it's pretty much John WIck reskinned. – user18397 Jul 25 '18 at 4:42
  • As I understand it, John Wick is a former assassin who returned to work after provocation - this is a current assassin who has a more or less normal life outside of his work. – Rasdashan Jul 25 '18 at 7:22

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