If I remember correctly, there is a phrase meaning "a character suddenly gets a lot of development right before they die". However I have forgotten the name and can't find it. Perhaps I am just imagining that it has a name. Is there a phrase meaning this specific thing?

  • 3
    To close voters, this question is asking about the name of a common writing trope rather than a phrase to use in their writing. It is there on-topic for our site despite appearing like a rephrasing request. @Matthew it might benefit your question if you edited give more details/an example of the trope and asked for it to be identified. Also if you can explain why you want this information we can provide more focused guidance. Good luck and happy writing!
    – linksassin
    Oct 5, 2020 at 23:18

1 Answer 1


The trope you are thinking of is called Death in the Limelight.

Briefly, an episode or issue that suddenly focuses on a character specifically because they're going to die at the end (or fairly close to the end).

Usually this is a relatively minor recurring character, or someone who technically is in the main cast but never had a Backstory or much in the way of characterization. The episode/issue may be honest about what's going to happen, or try to make it appear that the character is finally going to be promoted to a main character. Episodes about the death of a major character who already got plenty of exposure and a fairly full Backstory don't quite fit this trope, since it's not as obviously different from the character's normal treatment.

Some other writing tropes that come to mind:

Developing Doomed Characters - Before the movie/book gets to the good parts, they have to spend time developing characters that nobody cares about and are going to die anyway. Think of the recent Godzilla remake, where a huge amount of time was spent on the human protagonist's backstory when everybody was just there to see monsters fight.

Death By Flashback - Right before a character dies, the story flashes back in an extended backstory sequence, develops the character, and ties up all the loose ends in their backstory, trying to make them way more interesting and their life more meaningful before they officially die.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.